True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and in fearlessly following it.
On Nov 6th activists will be beginning a 40 day fast for climate justice, including people in India, the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Bhutan, The Philippines, Germany, France, Honduras and inside the Copenhagen conference itself.
the participants of Climate Justice Fast!, are undertaking our international hunger strike in order to call upon world leaders to act with courage and good faith for our common, global good, by implementing the most rapid possible transition to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gasses at below 350ppm CO2, and by committing to deliver justice for the global poor, who are the least responsible for causing climate change, yet are already suffering the most from its effects.
Justice for the poor can be delivered by funding climate adaptation and mitigation activities in developing nations with at least US$160 billion per year, by a commitment to reduce over-consumption, wherever it exists, to equitable, sustainable levels and by eliminating developed countries’ subsidies of fossil fuels and shifting them to renewable energy.”
Including my friend Paul Connor. Here is Paul talking about the fast:
Paul, love ya sweetheart, but you’re wrong!
Your fast is not controversial; taking any meaningful action is controversial.
Our western culture and lifestyles rely on the fundamental belief in personal impotence and helplessness. You and the other participants are threatening because you are showing that action is possible, that personal sacrifice is possible, that love and hope are possible.
That is an uplifting message , a glimmer of possibility, even redemption, grace and deliverance. The fast is not an “extreme action” (as you once referred to it). It is bold, courageous, and inspiring … and it scares the shit out of most of us.
“It is easy, of course, to fear happiness. There is often complacency in the acceptance of misery. We fear parting from our familiar roles. We fear the consequences of such a parting. We fear happiness because we fear failure. But we must overcome these fears. We must be brave. It is one thing to speculate about what might be. It is quite another to act in behalf of our dreams, to treat them as objectives that are achievable and worth achieving. It is one thing to run from unhappiness; it is another to take action to realize those qualities of dignity and well-being that are the true standards of the human spirit.”
Tim O’Brien, Going After Cacciato
You see, we have stopped believing that we will ever be other than as we are. Of course we think about getting the promotion, the computer upgrade, the nicer home. We believe in becoming better in the mundane sense of existing, but not of living.
“The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
It’s a failure of memory and imagination really. The ability to remember what we once thought we could be. The imagination to believe in a future, to believe in ourselves; that we might someday ever be capable of real generosity, compassion, and courage. We have simply lacked the power to imagine that we are capable of dignity, of hope … of belief.
And there you are, doing it.
And if you can do it, maybe we could. And if we could, maybe we should. And if we should, why aren’t we? You see how dangerous that is? What will anchor us then? What will become of us if we loose our spirits and dare to dream?
So please do not apologise, but rather I hope that you have the grace to understand and to forgive us for not being there as one of you. But we still can be there with you, for you. We can help. You and the other participants deserve all the help the rest of us can provide.
For a start we can learn more about the Climate Justice Fast, the participants, and fasting/hunger strikes.
Climate Justice Fast:
Youtube Channel: including video diaries of Paul’s practice fast
Fasting was used as a method of protesting injustice in pre-Christian Ireland, where it was known as Troscadh or Cealachan. It was detailed in the contemporary civic codes, and had specific rules by which it could be used. The fast was often carried out on the doorstep of the home of the offender.
“Fasting is a form of action that is very valuable in building the internal discipline and the deeply-felt understanding of what’s really important in this world that we individually need to stay true to our best ideals. When you fast for more than a few days, especially on a water-only fast, you are forced to think about the reasons for your fasting, why you are putting yourself through this. You spend time thinking about all of the people all over the world who “fast” involuntarily because of an unjust world order which is dominated by a relative handful of billionaires and multi-billionaires.”
We can help by :
- Spread the word; blog, link, share about the Fast now, and as it progresses;
- Find out if there is a fast near us (for Ottawa, Canada here and here), and
- contact them to see what they need ((CJF link to ‘Get Involved‘);
- if they are fasting in public, stand with them when possible;
- help spread the word locally (local press, at events, etc);
- Post our support on CJF sites and participant blogs;
- Host a CJF mini-event, have friends over for an evening Fast and watch Gandhi/Age of Stupid/other;
- Solidarity fast for 24? 48? other? hours:
- relay or tandem solidarity fasting (fast for a period, then pass to the next person to keep a fast going for the full 40 days)*;
- Write/blog/journal/twitter/video blog our fast. Let people know what and why.
- Learn more about climate change, 350, climate justice, and Copenhagen (lots more coming on this blog over the next few weeks);
- Work to support the demands put forward by the CJF (at top);
- Participate in events related to Copenhagen (eg The Wave)
Whatever else we may feel about it, the Climate Justice Fast is also an opportunity for the rest of us to remember what we wanted to be, and imagine that it is possible.
“The golden rule is to act fearlessly upon what one believes to be right.”
*I’d like to get some people willing to do short (1 day? 2? more? whatever you are comfortable with) fasts in solidarity with the Climate Justice Fast so that collectively we cover the full 40 days up to Copenhagen. Leave a comment if you are up for it.
“Since 1982, spring in East Asia (defined here as the eastern third of China and the Korean Peninsula) has been warming at a rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade.” Earth Gauge
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
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