Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 25

Day 25, and there are eight of us still fasting. One person, Diane Lopez Hughes, will be ending her fast today but seven of us will keep going. Several of us intend to go until the House Energy and Commerce Committee finishes its work and, most likely, reports out a very problematic American Clean Energy and Security Act at the end of next week. One of us, SKCM Curry, is planning to fast for a full 40 days.

I've started to call this fast a hunger strike. I did that kind-of without thinking, but thinking about it now, I'm realizing I've done so because of what is now coming out publicly about what Energy and Commerce is getting ready to do--report out a bill that will have very little impact for many years to come on the climate crisis. Instead of being auctioned, over half of the permits to burn fossil fuels are going to be given to coal, oil and heavy industry, with coal utilities the big winners. The bill has been seriously weakened from the initial discussion draft a month and a half ago so that the requirements for renewable energy and energy efficiency have been cut just about in half, and they were in need of strengthening, not weakening. Power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by the EPA will be constrained. States will be preempted when it comes to their passage of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Who do we have to "thank" for this travesty? Primarily Democrats from areas where coal and oil interests are powerful. People like Rick Boucher from southwest Virginia and Mike Doyle from western Pennsylvania.

So it's not a happy 25th day. But I am glad that during these weeks when our future was being further compromised and threatened by Big Oil and King Coal, some of us did the right thing and tried to blow the whistle on what was happening.

I only hope that the young people and others who feel the same outrage that I do will now translate that into the kind of nonviolent direct action movement that we saw rise up out of the deep South in the 1960's that transformed this country. Nothing else has a chance of turning things around in enough time to prevent climate catastrophe.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fast Enters Second Week


Fast For Our Future Enters Second Week as House of Representatives
Struggles to Develop Legislation on Energy and the Climate Crisis

For immediate release, April 27, 2009

For more information:
Ted Glick, 973-460-1458
Jere Locke, 512-964-1134

As the House of Representatives struggles with the development of legislation to address the climate crisis and advance a clean energy agenda, approximately 20 people around the USA continue a “Fast For Our Future” that began on April 20th. 10 of the fasters, who are eating no solid foods, are planning to fast for between 25 and 40 days.

Jere Locke, Director of the Texas Climate Emergency Campaign and planning to fast 25-40 days, explained that “we want to call attention to the need for the United States to give leadership to the world on this critical issue. We can do so by committing to the 25-40% target, with 1990 as the baseline, for carbon emissions reductions called for by the world’s climate negotiators at a United Nations Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia in 2007. It is a target that, if reached, would give the world some chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.”

Other main demands of the fasters include a moratorium on the building of any new coal plants and no giveaway of emissions permits to corporate polluters. The fasters support President Obama’s public support of a 100% auction of those permits, or the enactment of a substantial carbon fee.

Ted Glick, coordinator of this action, expressed concern about the direction of efforts in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to come up with comprehensive energy and climate legislation. “Last week’s hearings in this committee, and important elements of the committee’s draft legislation, are grounds for serious concern. The draft contains huge loopholes for corporate polluters to avoid reducing their carbon emissions by way of problematic and complicated ‘offsets.’ There are also strong indications that half or more of the permits will be given away for free. It is essential that the American people, who strongly support a shift to jobs-producing, clean, renewable energy, flood Capitol Hill with calls, letters, faxes and emails demanding truly strong legislation that eliminates offsets, makes these polluters pay for their pollution and has a real chance of meeting the 25-40% reduction target.”

Those who are planning to fast for 25-40 days include:

Elliott Adams, past national President of Veterans for Peace, formerly a paratrooper in the infantry serving in Viet Nam, Japan, Korea and Alaska. His commitment to ending all war has taken him from testifying before the Congressional Judiciary Committee to being arrested several times.

Kathleen Breault, a 51 year old midwife, mother and grandmother from upstate New York who is fasting because she wants to make a profound statement about the climate crisis which deeply concerns her.

SKCM Curry, a 47 year old social justice historian and activist from South Central Los Angeles, Ca. and a member of the Green Party of the United States. She has seen first hand over the past 20 years of her work, in the USA and in Ghana, West Africa, the very real effects of the lack of legislative action on climate change. She trains on popular education to help people change their social conditions.

Ted Glick, a Bloomfield, N.J. resident, a peace and human rights organizer since the Viet Nam war and a climate organizer since 2004 when he co-founded the Climate Crisis Coalition. He has been arrested several times as part of his climate activism and engaged in a long climate emergency fast in fall, 2007.

Diane Lopez Hughes, a resident of Springfield, Illinois who is chair of the Illinois Sierra Club Environmental Justice Committee and a leader of Pax Christi, USA. She sees her work for peace and justice as intricately woven with issues of environmental justice and the integrity of creation.

Jere Locke, Director of the Texas Climate Emergency Campaign and a father of two sons. As a result of his attendance at the United Nations Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia in December, 2007 he became very concerned about the future for his two sons and the people of this planet.

Cathy Luna-Desaulnier, from small-town USA also known as Smithville, Tx. She is a 38 year old mother of two and a homemaker. She believes in standing up proud and tall for the right causes and being passionate about it.

Portia Odell, an 18 year old student at the University of Texas in Austin. She is a vegetarian and is fasting to send a strong message to those who do not understand the urgency of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, as well as to prove to herself that this is something that she will commit her entire life to.

Vincent Pawlowski, Tucson, Az., resident and active nationally with the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth. He has been active with Focus the Nation on the University of Arizona campus and is a recent graduate of Prescott College’s Degree Program in Sustainable Community Development.

Diane Wilson, a fourth generation fisherwoman on the Texas Gulf Coast and a leader of Calhoun County Resource Watch. She has been fighting on environmental issues for over twenty years and is the author of “An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Pulluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas,” published in 2005.

More information can be found at


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Airports and hungerfasts

This is day 6 or 7 of the hungerstrike. I dont know which. I just came back from a Stop Blackwater Conference in Stockton, Illinois and i did ok dragging my suitcase up 3 or 4 ramps and i stayed awake during the conference. i think i rated pretty good. I was freezing but that was because the weather was freezing and had nothing to do with the hungerstrike. I have an interesting story to tell about hungerfasts and airports. Back in the '90s I did a hungerfast against Dupont and traveled all over the country tracking Dupont chemical companies to press my point. It was very tiring and around 31 days it ended. Thank goodness. i think i can truthfully say that was the only hungerstrike where I actually felt like I might die. That feeling was a shocker and it made me realize what the Belfast prisoners on their hungerstrike must have felt because 8 men died. It is one thing to do a hunger strike knowing it will end in 40 days but it is quite another knowing you will fast until you die. As Ive said before, a hungerfast is a very mental thing.
Speaking of mental and hungerstrikes and those airports. After my 31 days of fasting against Dupont (by the way, Dupont considered my hunger fast an act of terrorism. their words not mine) I had to climb on a plane outside of Washington DC and fly to Houston, Texas. I needed someone to go with me to the ticketing counter because I couldnt understand compound sentences. You know, two sentences with an 'and' between them. It was too much information and my poor brain could not compute. Finally, I made it to the plane and was fixing to store my suitcase in the luggage compartment when I stood transfixed with the word " PUSH" on the overhead compartment. PUSH? PUSH? What was push?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 6

It feels like I've reached a fasting plateau after some up and down first few days. I didn't have any major physical problems, mainly some digestion issues when I take the salt, calcium, potassium, vitamin C and multi-vitamin that are important to take. But if I dilute those vitamins right after taking them with a lot of water it seems to pass quickly. I've been surprised that I've had exactly zero headaches since this started. That's a good sign that I'm eating healthily and am in decent shape after just about 60 years on this planet.

The main thing I find myself thinking about is how this fast can have more of an impact on what's happening in Congress.

This was the week that a critical period of decision-making over the next month began. It began with hearings before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. After a full week with 54 people testifying, all the input indicates that things are very much up in the air about what's going to be happening with climate legislation. There is a very real possibility that the draft bill introduced a month ago by committee chair Henry Waxman could get worse, and there are a number of major problems with that draft, so there's a strong need for people to be bringing pressure to bear on their individual Congresspeople, on Henry Waxman, and on other members of that committee. Especially important are the blue dog, moderate Democrats who are generally looking to weaken the legislation: Mike Doyle, GK Butterfield, Baron Hill, Gene Green, Jim Matheson, Mike Ross, Charlie Melancon, John Barrow, Charles Gonzalez, Rick Boucher and John Dingell.

The primary purpose of this fast is to have an impact during this critical five-week period when the first comprehensive climate legislation of the Obama era is being put together. I pray that those part of this fast network and many more will step up to the plate and let these people who are representing us--all of us, not just their districts--know that the climate emergency we are facing calls for strong action.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

After Two Days

I couldn't believe how good I felt waking up this morning on the second day, and my energy level stayed high all throughout up to now, into the evening. That's after spending a good part of the day on Capitol Hill talking to energy/climate staffers for various key Congresspeople.

And I was struck by how I seem to be already into the reality of not really wanting food, of looking upon food as almost something distasteful, so to speak. It's like temptation, it's something that if I partake of I will be hurting the cause I feel so deeply about.

I'm reminded of something I read that sister faster Diane Wilson once said about fasting, that it becomes "mind over matter." Yes, very much so. My mind is so focused on doing all that I can to get the strongest possible legislation on climate out of this polluter-influenced Congress that it easily beats out the usual desire to eat.

I know further along it will get harder and my energy will flag as I continue on what is for me a water-only fast (with vitamins and salt), but for now and for days to come, I'm really looking forward to the new insights and experiences this fast is starting to bring me.

Ted Glick

Friday, April 17, 2009

This report went out to our subscriber email list and is on our website. Well, I'm getting ready to cleanse staring Monday. Some activities scheduled that day, but not after that.
Good luck to y'all, Jan

Join the Big Fast for the Climate
By Ted Glick, Jere Locke, Jan Lundberg

[Culture Change website introduction] This Monday we're putting our voices where our mouths full of food are. The world appears to be facing climate extinction, and still we're trapped in our economic "reality" and political "hope." But deep down we know that, if we've paid attention, Earth's climate won't wait until we find it convenient to slash emissions and population growth. So we are fasting.

In late summer of 2007 folks in every state in the U.S. and beyond took action to place our concern over the changing climate at the very top. By not eating anything, for the Climate Emergency Fast, the statement was clear that we meant business -- like Gandhi did. We need results, just as he and his downtrodden people did, as they were up against the evil
empire. We have an evil empire to fight too, known as ourselves and our modern, industrial culture of convenient consumption.

To read remainder of this report, go to

* * * * *

Culture Change
P.O. Box 4347, Arcata, CA 95518 USA, tel/fax: 1-215-243-3144
Please send any feedback or questions via email to

Why I'm Fasting for the Future

by Diane Wilson

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why I'm Fasting for the Future

I’ll be honest with you. I’m a fourth generation fisherwoman that has been fighting environmental issues on the Texas Gulf Coast for over twenty years but this hunger fast is the first time I’ve did anything on global warming. My environmental activism started after the county where I live, Calhoun County, was ranked No. l in the nation for toxins to the land, according to the 1989 Toxic Release Inventory. That year was the beginning of a skirmish that quickly escalated into a trench-like 20 year war against petrochemical companies that wanted nothing better than to leave their steel-toed shoe imprint on the marshes, rivers, bayous, and bays of Texas.

In twenty years of what I call my baby-like naivety I have seen something that I never expected to see in my lifetime and, in fact, is what is currently spurring my hunger strike. In one lifetime, I have seen the consequence of what unclear thinking, tunnel vision, and short term unsustainable living can inflict on a community, town, fishery, and a bay. WHAM! Fish houses shut down. Boats rotting in the harbor. Business shut down. Oysters stressed out. Bay full of mercury. Crabs full of mercury. Cattle’s DNA mutated. Rampant cancer. I have a houseful of boxed information on everything from dolphin die offs, to political buy- offs, kick-backs, worker deaths, fraudulent reports, exposures, stressed out oysters, mercury superfunds, contaminated seafood, and everything you never wanted to know about super-sized industries hell bent on destruction.

People who don’t live on the Texas Gulf Coast have a hard time believing my story and quite frankly, I have a hard time believing it myself. The story gets stranger and more and more bizarre and after a while I don’t need the incredibility brimming in my listener’s eyes to I stop myself. I just stop myself. You see, usually cause and effect is sooooo much slower. So slow---which gives you time to forget what it was that caused that effect in the first place. Kind of like that Bhopal/Union Carbide/Dow issue. Twenty thousand dead but twenty years of forgetting right there. Then, too, the saying is: death by a thousand cuts. Right? Takes a long time for a thousand cuts. Mighty long time. Several generations, at least. But apparently not in Texas. We get to the hanging much quicker. One time a Washington, DC reporter called me and after talking for awhile he said he sure wished he was down in Texas covering a story because in Washington DC, the footprints were well-muddied and hidden but in Texas the footprints were everywhere and in plain sight.

So you see, when the reports and statistics and the stories come out about global warming and the message is clear that we, as Americans, need to cut our greenhouse emissions by 40 percent, I understand. And I understand because I live with stunted inaction and misinformed disbelieve all the time. It lives and breathes where I live in Texas. We are bringing the roof down over our heads-- but yet, what do we do? We bring in two coal burning power plants, a nuclear power plant, a liquid natural gas terminal the size of three footballs fields that will require dredging up the bay where hundreds of thousands of pounds of mercury that were lost by a malfunctioning Alcoa plant. That is the reality of my home. So I will fast forty days. Maybe more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This brief blog posting is going up the day after the Call to Action for this Fast for Our Future has been sent out widely. We've begun to hear back from people who are signing up to fast, some for one day, some for 25-40 days. There are now six of us, from Texas, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and California, who are planning to do a fast of between 25-40 days.

As one of those planning to do so, and even though I've been on long fasts before, I'll admit to feelings of apprehension. I am fully aware that there will be more than a few moments during that time that I will have second thoughts: why am I putting myself through this? But I know that it is during those moments that I will do what fasting always gets me to do: think seriously about the "why" of this fast, and I will grow spiritually closer to those already suffering because of an unjust world order in which the destruction of forests and the mining, production and sale of coal, oil and natural gas are essential components. I will think about those coming after me who are literally dependent on us living now to do everything in our power to prevent the world climate catastrophe that is coming our way as surely as the sun sets in the west unless we get serious right now.

I pray for strength, for myself and my sister and brother fasters, during this upcoming time of testing.

Ted Glick