Leaders in Sustainability #1 – Kumi Naidoo

The environmental movement is one that is categorized by its diverse and multifaceted efforts. While positive in that it targets problems from a variety of different angles and mediums, its multilayered aspects can sometimes make the movement seem overwhelming and abstract. However, one way to help demystify its broad landscape is to clarify who the leaders of sustainability are and what the different spheres they work within are. Below is the first of five leaders who are steering the push for sustainable change:


Kumi Naidoo

Who he is:

  • Greenpeace International Executive Director on November 15, 2009.
  • Respected for “having a heart as big as a mountain, the courage of a lion, the tenacity of a British terrier dog.”
  • Has been an activist for his whole life
    • Expelled in high school for anti-apartheid activities
    • Founder of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), an organization connecting all of the South African NGOs
    • 1997- organized the National Men’s March Against Violence on Women in South Africa
    • 2003- Kumi selected for the Eminent Persons Panel on UN Civil Society Relations.

What he has done for sustainability:

  • Active Member of Greenpeace Africa in Johannesburg and Kinshasa since 2008
  • Chair of the civil society alliance ‘Global Campaign for Climate Action’ (GCCA)
  • Latest project: focus on generating change through a contentious mission to partner Greenpeace with big corporations in order to yield desired results

His words:

  • “The world has changed since 2009. Baby steps are no longer enough. To control runaway climate change, we need to sharply change tack and sail with the wind, not against it with unsustainable fossil fuels.”


Written by Julie Elliot, Class of 2015


Photo by: DONOSTIA KULTURA –Rueda de prensa Kumi Naidoo – Miren Gutiérrez 14

Egilea-Autor: Iñigo Royo  https://www.flickr.com/photos/donostiakultura/5725979904/