Planet does not need saving - Greenpeace director

Thulani Gqirana, News 24

Cape Town – Climate change is not about the struggle to save the planet, it's about saving the human race.

This is according to Greenpeace International's executive director Kumi Naidoo, who on Thursday painted a bleak picture of a world that was not doing enough to implement the changes needed to keep the planet 'healthy'.

The South African activist, who returns to the country at the end of the year when he steps down from his post at Greenpeace, said the climate change struggle was a simple one.

"It's a struggle of securing our children's and their children's future. The thing about climate is not the struggle to save the planet... the planet does not need saving. Because if we continue as we are now, we as a species will be gone and the planet will still be here."

Speaking in Cape Town on Thursday, he said it was a mistake to think about climate change as if it was something that was in the future.

"Lives are being lost now at a significant scale. Infrastructure is being destroyed now, and livelihoods are being disrupted now."

He cited the unrest in Darfur as an example of how water and food scarcity could lead to wars.

"We still have a window of opportunity [on climate change] but it's going to take significantly more participation and activism if we are to get in line with what the sciences are asking us to do."

It is not all doom and gloom, however. Naidoo said there were reasons to be optimistic about the fight against climate change, including the fact that there was still a chance to change political will.