Laguna, The Philippines, after Typhoon Haiyan. Photo: ACT/Paul Jeffrey
Floods in Pakistan. Photo: ACT/CWS/Ghulam Rasool
Flood damage in Teresópolis, Brazil. Photo: ACT/LWF/Gustavo Bonato
Mindanao, The Philippines, after Typhoon Bopha. Photo: ACT/Paul Jeffrey
Cyclone Phailin, Orissa. Photo: ACT/CASA
We Fast for the Climate to send a message to governments that people from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe, and from all faiths and creeds expect climate action. We demand a just transition to a safe climate future. To achieve this, we call for:
Already, millions of people have lost their homes and their livelihoods as a result of climate change. Yet government action remains profoundly inadequate and fails to secure the benefits a clean energy revolution would deliver for people and the planet.
The time to solve the crisis is now. 2015 is a unique opportunity to set the world on track to a safe climate future. We expect countries to cut carbon pollution and to secure a renewable energy supply by 2050. We want individuals to continue to lead the way by adopting climate solutions through their own consumption. We expect richer countries to help poorer nations reduce their own pollution and adapt their communities to climate impacts, while we urge all world leaders to work together in order to ensure the planet is a safe and better place for future generations.
“Fasting made climate change real for me, opened my eyes and brought me closer to my neighbours. This is one of the reasons why fasting once a month is interesting: it raises one’s awareness on a regular basis and not only when extreme weather events happen. As long as you share your commitment around you, you help raising awareness about climate change. And that is, after all, what makes your fast matter.” — Martin Kopp.
When Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda had just devastated the Philippines in November 2013, then climate commissioner Yeb Saño was at the UN climate talks in Warsaw. His own family was caught up in the disaster that killed thousands and destroyed homes and livelihoods across the country.
In a moving speech, Yeb said he would not eat until the Warsaw conference ended or delivered actions that would ‘stop the madness’ of the climate crisis. So long as the people he represented could not eat, nor would he.
Hundreds of others from around the world chose to fast with him in solidarity.
Despite this, the Warsaw meeting saw countries actually winding back their climate commitments, seemingly in denial that all countries will need to commit and contribute to the comprehensive, global climate action plan which is due in Paris in 2015.
The Fast For The Climate has grown into global movement with participation of youth groups, environmental groups and faith-based groups, who all want urgent action on climate change by governments this year.
We will fast on the first day of every month, until countries agree a comprehensive, fair climate action plan that puts the world on a pathway to phase out carbon pollution.
From the start of the 2014 Lima climate talks to the start of the 2015 Paris talks, we also have a rolling fast moving from Lima to Paris, with one person fasting each day.
We fast for one day each time. Many of us interpret that as a 24 hour period from midnight to midnight. Others fast from dawn until dusk. How long you fast is up to you. You know your limits, and only you can choose what is safe for you.
Fasting is giving something up voluntarily for a fixed period. Mostly for us, that means giving up food for a day, but we encourage our fasters to define their own limits. It is important to us that our fasters are safe and healthy.
There are different kinds of food fast:
1. Normal fasting: The most common form of fast is to give up food, but continue to drink liquids. Some people drink only water, but others drink juice, clear liquids or even fresh juices or smoothies. This is the kind of fast we encourage for most people. It’s up to you to set your own limits.
2. Partial fasting: Some people choose to continue to eat some food, but restrict what they eat. This could be giving up some meals, or giving up some foods – such as going vegan or vegetarian for a day, or only eating locally grown food. If you do not think you should give up food for a day due to health concerns, family or work responsibilities, or any other reason, we encourage you to consider this option.
3. Absolute fasting: This type of fast is where you abstain entirely from food and drink. We do not encourage people to try this kind of fast. If you wish to do an absolute fast for the climate for a day, we strongly recommend that you speak to a medical professional first.
Ultimately, Fast for the Climate is a movement. To build our movement, we need to look after our health and be safe. That’s why we encourage you to set your own limits. Normal fasting for a day from time to time doesn’t harm your health and many people believe it is beneficial to your health. But, if you are suffering from any serious health problems, do check with your doctor before fasting.
For some people, fasting from food might not be practical, safe, or possible. And that’s okay. If you are one of those people, we encourage you to to consider alternative ways that you can fast. What could you give up for a day? What about giving up caffeine, or alcohol, or even just chocolate? All of these things will be affected by climate change. These are just ideas – what you give up is up to you.
One of the most popular alternative fasts within our movement is a carbon fast, where people deliberately and voluntarily reduce their carbon footprint for a day. While it probably would be almost impossible to absolutely eliminate your carbon emissions, you can reduce them drastically. As with our fast from food, you can set your own limits. Here are a few ways to carbon fast:
Think about what parts of your liftestyle contribute the most to your carbon emissions, and see if you can cut them for a day each month – or even more often. Many of our fasters have made ongoing lifestyle changes to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem!
2015 is a crucial year in shaping our response to climate change.
Climate change meetings throughout the year are building up to the crucial UN climate talks in Paris, France in December.
At the UN climate negotiations in Paris this year, the world has a chance to decide to end the fossil fuel age, to embrace the dawning renewable energy world, and to build resilient communities free from poverty and inequality.
In Paris, responsible governments will chart a course to accelerate the global energy transition that people all over the world are spearheading. This will increase our chances to keep global warming well below 2° C – the threshold beyond which scientists tell us climate change is going to spin out of control and threaten civilization as we know it.
Our leaders can ensure that the transition to a safe climate future is just and orderly, or spend the rest of their careers cleaning up climate disasters – like Typhoon Haiyan.
We know that Paris won’t be the end of the journey. It marks the end of four years of negotiation, but continues a negotiating process than began in 1990. The Paris Conference can be the moment where we set a course for a just transition to a fossil-free, 100% renewable, safe climate future.
Throughout the year there are significant moments in the climate change calendar and we are linking our monthly fasting on the first of each month to this process.
See the full calendar of events through the year: