PORT KLANG: Farhan Nasa was yearning for new experiences in life after medical school. So, he decided to volunteer on board Greenpeace’s ship, the Rainbow Warrior, as a deckhand and as part of its medical team.
On his very first day at work, he attended to two cases of heat exhaustion.
“The most difficult thing about being onboard is that it involves very physically demanding work.
“I have never done this kind of hard work before,” said the Malaysian from Subang Jaya, Selangor.
“Furthermore, I have no prior sailing experience.”
Farhan, 26, is part of a 15-strong crew on Rainbow Warrior that is now docked in Malaysia for the first time in history.
He represents a generation of young activists who are joining established names such as Capt Peter Wilcox in its mission to expose global environmental abuses.
“When I first started sailing we used paper charts for navigation; now we have all these technology,” Wilcox said of the electronic chart display system on the vessel.
Wilcox, 65, has been sailing for 45 years. He has gone through much, his life threatened during a 1985 bombing in New Zealand and when he was arrested and detained for two months by Russian military in 2013.
Yet, Wilcox has never surrendered the fight for environmental protection.
“Climate change is not a distant problem our children have to deal with,” Wilcox said, highlighting that 80% of the reefs in Indonesia were facing coral bleaching.
He said three major practices that were severely hurting the planet – fossil fuels, overfishing and single use plastics.
“Soon, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Already fish are dying in the ocean, birds are dying eating plastic,” he said.
“We have got to change the way we are living on the planet, or our planet won’t support us.”
Wilcox said his activism felt like a losing battle and that he was disappointed to see the health degradation of the planet.
However, he chose to remain hopeful.
“In 20 years, when my grandchildren are saying ‘how do you mess up the planet so badly?’, I’ll be able to say ‘I tried, I wasn’t very successful, but I tried’. That’s why I don’t regret it,” he said.
The Rainbow Warrior, one of three Greenpeace ships aside from the Arctic Sunrise and the Esperanza, has successfully helped end nuclear testing in the Pacific, blocked coal ports and closed down destructive fishing operations.
It will be in Port Klang's South Port until Thursday (July 7) to raise greater awareness on environmental protection and to engage with local partners and supporters for a meaningful action on plastic pollution.