I’m writing this post while on a stopover halfway to Paris, where I am going for the climate talks later this month – and I’m writing to ask you not only to fast with us as the talks begin on 1 December, but also to gather with your friends and family in your communities on the evening of 1 December, to celebrate the better, more sustainable, more just world that we are working towards. Join with us in a feast of climate solutions!
Two years ago today, I stood on a balcony in Warsaw’s National Stadium with a big white lens on my camera, photographing a crowd gathering around Yeb Saño on the floor below. It was my second time at the UN climate talks, and I never foresaw what would be to come.
Just 48 hours earlier, Yeb had delivered his raw, impassioned and inspiring speech to the conference’s opening, announcing that while the people he represented could not eat, nor would he. Then, two years ago today, many of my close friends in the UN climate talks’ youth constituency gathered in the conference to announce that they too would fast.
Within the conference centre, hundreds joined – from civil society, faith communities, and the youth. Outside, hundreds or thousands of others fasted with Yeb too. Even some of my friends and mentors back home in New Zealand told me they were fasting.
Our movement was born.
Since then, as Yeb said in his call with us in September, the Fast for the Climate movement has grown incredibly. Whole churches and communities (and once even a whole country) have been fasting on the first day of each month to call for a just transition to a safe climate future for all peoples.
When we agreed two years ago to keep fasting after the Warsaw talks ended, we only planned to fast until the Lima talks began. Then, as our movement grew and grew, we decided to keep fasting until Paris. And more than that, we decided to kick our game up another notch. Last December, not only did we commit to keep fasting each month until Paris, we launched a human chain, with one person fasting each day from Lima to Paris, moving through every continent. Every day for the last 12 months, at least one person has fasted for the climate.
Now, Paris is just three weeks away.
We know Fast for the Climate will continue beyond Paris. Our movement is too big, too energised, and too strong to just fade away. And, as 350.org founder Bill McKibben – who fasts with us – says, the road through Paris is more important than the road to Paris.
But Paris is important. So I’m writing to you today, on the anniversary of that day in Warsaw, to ask you to help us make the first of December a very special fast day indeed. I’m asking you not just to fast on 1 December, but to:
- begin your fast on the evening of 30 November, the day the climate talks begin, and use social media to make sure the world’s climate negotiators know you fast in solidarity, not just sympathy, as the talks get underway
- invite your friends, family, congregation and community to gather with you on the evening of 1 December to break your fast with a feast of climate solutions.
We want to show our world leaders as they gather in Paris that not only do people of all faiths and none, from all backgrounds, and from all continents fast for real climate justice, but that we are already leading the way to a safe, just climate future. Break your fast with a sustainable, low carbon feast – a vegetarian (or even vegan!), or locally grown, or organic meal, perhaps. As you eat, think of the ways we are already leading the way to the future we want, free from fossil fuels and fuelled by 100% renewable energy.
I’m looking forward to sharing more about exactly what we have planned for Paris soon. Know that even though we cannot bring all our Fasters to Paris, every one of our 365 Fasters from the last year will be represented at the talks. Stay tuned.