You have been in Greece several times. Have you learn any Greek words?
Yes, well... “ OXI “
I hope I’m Pronouncing correctly ? I admire the Greek people who said OXI during the famous Greek referendum, defying the European Union. OXI ("No") goes back to the days when Fascist were occupying Greece, it was a symbol of Greek defiance against occupation -and it became famous again during the Europe's economic crisis, when in 2015 Greece held a historic European referendum where the majority (61%) of the population voted OXI / NO -- against an agreement with EU's institutions and banks, which would lead Greece into even bigger debt, and impose "structural adjustments" and austerity (privatizations of public assets). It was the most heroic event in recent Greece's history, thousands of people were on the streets, there was hope, for the first time people felt dignity, by simply saying NO.
But unfortunately, the Syriza (left party) government (with Alexis Tsipras as prime minister) decided to capitulate and the next day of the referendum finance minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned.
Today when you look at Greece, you will see that most of the airports are owned by German companies (Fraport), that the port of Piraeus (part of broader Athens) is owned by the Chinese, that people are even more indebted, there is poverty everywhere, that there is massive emigration of the young population....
so OXI still means something today. It is a symbol which shouldn't be forgotten.
What was the most touching incident that ever happened to you while on an activist action?
I was The International Chair Person of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for many years. Until I had to focus more on my own foundation living in Europe it was difficult to chair the weekly meetings time difference etc.
Sea Shepherd was eye opening - devastating. The brutal pilot whale slaughter in The Faroe Islands , the capture/slaughter of dolphins in Taji, the baby seal hunt in Canada make me so angry.
The unnecessary brutality and ignorance chocked up to tradition. It’s pure evil bullshit !
And of course extinction which is rapidly rising and we will soon face not only extinction but environmental breakdown. compassion or solidarity in "ordinary life" can also be a sort of activism.
And I’m happy that you can see it on the streets of Greece.
Who is the most important Greek celebrity living today ?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS - someone who said OXI when he was finance minister of Greece and who inspires people across Europe.
What do you think is the most burning issue in the planet right now, for someone to protest about?
CLIMATE CHANGE & EXTINCTION.
I find the current children protests and school strikes, happening across Europe, from Sweden to Brussels, very inspiring. It is thousands of kids telling the adults they screwed up. They are saying OXI - and we should all join them.
Because climate change concerns all of us. I visited Greece several times and I know it had and still has a big refugee problem, but imagine hundreds of millions of refugees come to Europe because of rising sea levels in two or three decades from now?
Or take the extinction of species happening so rapidly. Or that we all already eat micro-plastics. This is why we need the children’s protests - and global change.