Civic and faith activists back US climate change fast

By staff writers
10 Aug 2007

A coalition of activists from US civic and religious groups concerned about the impact of climate change on the global community, particularly the poorest, are organising a fast on 4 September 2007 to call for concerted action.

Among those who will take part are well-known environmental author Bill McKibben and National Council of Churches USA general secretary the Rev Dr Bob Edgar.

The event is being coordinated through the website http://www.climateemergency.org. It is calling for: no new coal or coal-to-liquid plants; a freeze greenhouse on gas emissions with moves quickly to reduce them; and a downpayment of US$25 billion for energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy.

The full appeal is as follows:

As global warming rapidly intensifies, the prospect of much more extensive hunger worldwide becomes increasingly likely, especially in poor countries, due to drought, Katrina-like storms, glacial melting and sea level rise. These impacts will lead to crop failures and economic and social disruption on a massive scale.

To draw attention to this threat and its moral implications, we are calling on thousands of Americans to voluntarily give up food for one day on September 4th, 2007. Other participants will fast even longer beginning on that date, some for weeks. Our appeal to you is to consider joining us in this climate initiative called, "So Others Might Eat: The Climate Emergency Fast." Give up food for one day now to draw attention to the fact that others may have no food tomorrow unless we halt global warming.

September 4th is the day Congress returns from its summer recess. What better way to mark that day than with a small personal sacrifice meant to send an urgent message: it's time for our national leaders to take action to solve the climate threat!

Fasting is a simple yet profound way of combining the spiritual and the political. Mahatma Gandhi called it "the sincerest form of prayer." It communicates seriousness and urgency without violence, thereby focusing peoples' attention on the issues of the fast.

The overwhelming urgency of the climate situation is motivating this call. We don't think the climate movement can accept that there will be little of substance coming out of this Congress while President Bush is in office. We can't, in essence, let Congress off the hook for another two years. We must do as much as we can, we must push ourselves to do more than we're used to doing, to step it up now.

What will we be calling for? Three things: no new coal or coal-to-liquid plants; freeze greenhouse gas emissions and move quickly to reduce them; and a down payment of $25 billion for energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy.

Our hope is that this fast will generate the kind of media coverage and grassroots response sufficient to pressure Congress to act quickly and decisively.

Won't you join us? You can do so by going to www.climateemergency.org.

Signatories:

Raya Ariella, Climate Crisis Coalition
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Brent Blackwelder, Friends of the Earth
Alli Chagi-Starr, Ella Baker Center/Art in Action
Ted Glick, U.S. Climate Emergency Council
Eban Goodstein, Focus the Nation
Connie Hogarth, Climate Crisis Coalition
Jonathan Isham, Middlebury College
Van Jones, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Tom Kelly, Kyoto USA
Jan Lundberg, Culture Change
Fr Paul Mayer, Climate Crisis Coalition
Bill McKibben, author
David Merrill, GlobalWarmingSolutions.org
Gael Murphy, Code Pink
Billy Parish, Energy Action Coalition
Dave Robinson, Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement
Belvie Rooks, Carrie Productions, Inc
Rabbi Warren Stone, Environmental Chair, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Mike Tidwell, US Climate Emergency Council
Josh Tulkin, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Liz Veazey, Southern Energy Network, a founding member of Energy Action
Rev Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus

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