Skip to comments.Mainers join fast 'to slow global warming'
Posted on 07/08/2005 5:22:48 AM PDT by cp124
ROCKPORT - Jim and Jean Matlack got up Wednesday morning and skipped breakfast ... then lunch ... and dinner.
For this retired couple, who've recently settled in the midcoast after decades of summer visits, a rumbling stomach was a small price to pay to draw attention to melting glaciers, species extinction and the potential transformation of the Earth that becomes more real to them every day as pollution builds up in the atmosphere, trapping heat and slowly changing the planetary climate.
Nationwide, about 125 people are "fasting to slow global warming" this week - avoiding meals during the Group of Eight summit in Scotland - in hopes of demonstrating their resolve to the leaders of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan, said the protest's organizer, David Merrill of the National Global Warming Coalition.
In Maine, at least a dozen protesters are fasting for between 24 and 72 hours, depending on their age, health and other factors, said Andy Burt of the Maine Council of Churches' environmental program.
"Everybody eats. Everybody can relate to not eating. We want the president to see the people in this country are getting so upset about [climate change] that they're actually not eating," Merrill explained Wednesday, speaking by cell phone from the fast's temporary headquarters, a tent across the street from the White House.
"It's doing something a little more risky, a little more out there to draw attention to the problem," said Christine James of Bath, who plans to fast for all three days.
"I couldn't go to Scotland. I couldn't go to Washington. This is something I could do," she said Wednesday.
When British Prime Minister Tony Blair took over leadership of the G-8 last year, he promised to make climate change a major agenda item for these leaders of the world's most powerful nations.
But few expect that President Bush will agree to statements and policies he already has rejected at home. The Bush administration repeatedly has dismissed scientific consensus about climate change and has said further research is necessary before any emissions reductions with the potential to affect the economy should be required.
All seven of the other G-8 nations have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which went into effect in February. But the world's largest producer of the greenhouse gas emissions from cars, factories and power plants that are believed to be changing the global climate - the United States - chose not to ratify the treaty, calling it unfair because developing nations such as India and China would not be subject to the same emissions reductions as the United States.
Still, Merrill, the Matlacks and other fasters believe the wave of public opinion signified by their fast, by peaceful protesters organizing marches in Europe and even by the corporate leaders who are choosing to reduce emissions without a national mandate, has the power to sway world leaders.
"I feel as though our fast, sitting here in Rockport, Maine, silently in our apartment, is part of the bigger picture," Jean said. "The wave is building. People are waking up."
The Matlacks are veterans of social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. They've marched, signed petitions and even switched to a (almost, for Jim) vegan diet. But fasting is a unique experience, they said.
"It's really different from signing a petition. Not eating is ... well, you notice it. It has a focusing effect," Jean Matlack said, adding that she has spent the day writing letters to politicians and educating herself about climate change.
Christine James, a spokeswoman for green energy provider Maine Interfaith Power and Light, said she focused that energy on prayer, asking for wisdom for these eight men who are meeting, in her words, "to decide the fate of the planet."
This week's fast makes a very literal point about the famines that are predicted to accompany climate change in many parts of the world. Every year, 160,000 people already are dying as a result of storms, droughts and disease that can be linked to global climate change's impact on the weather near the Indian Ocean, Merrill said.
"If we get a drought here, it can be difficult. If they get a drought there, people start dying," he said.
The fast is also an allegory, according to Jim Matlack. The couple's decision to deprive themselves of food for 24 hours reminds them of the other things they, and the rest of America, could give up for the good of the world.
"Global warming is only one facet of the fact that we're living beyond our means," Jean said.
In fact, the issues of debt relief and other means of addressing poverty in many African nations that make up the rest of the G-8 agenda are closely related to the question of global climate change, protesters said.
Climate models have indicated that many of the world's poorest nations likely would be the hardest-hit by the impacts of a warming planet, and those nations that are attempting to "grow" their way out of Third World status, such as India, are a rapidly growing segment of the greenhouse gas problem.
"All of these issues have their beginning in what we're doing to our environment," James said. "It's all connected."
Hmmm... let's see, reduced eating = reduced flatulence.... just might work. :-)
It's about the same, to me...
??? Will this mean that by fasting, the team will emit fewer greenhouse gases?
My favorite nut jobs are the garbage pickers who call themselves freegans.
...just keep it up. No cooking, no added heat or spent fuel gases etc. If all like minded people join in, the world will be a better place.
You're giving them too much credit.
Schizophrenia is not a pretty sight.
They don't eat as much food, don't burn as many calories, don't exhale as much carbon dioxide....
Sounds good to me.
Of course, they could just shoot themselves and reduce the carbon dioxide even more.
Hey Jim, if you're not eating your lobster can I have it?
And please pass the melted butter over if you please.
"Global Warming" Protest - Old dopers hit hardest
> No cooking, no added heat or spent fuel gases etc.
No animals killed, no trees chopped down, no air polluted...imagine! everyone doing his or her part for global warming.
Dumb and Dumber Matlack
If they fart less...
Well this huge effort should get the attention of people who matter. /sarcasm
I think I'll smoke a big brisket. Hell, if it makes the earth heat up, I'll turn up the AC.
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