Fasting for Our Future
It's Time for Strong Action on Climate!
On Monday, April 20th, members of Congress will be returning to Washington from their spring recess. On that day hundreds of people around the USA and in other countries will be fasting, abstaining from solid food, engaging in what Mahatma Gandhi called, "the sincerest form of prayer." Some will continue fasting for more than one day, some for 25-40 days or more.
We are writing as people who will be part of this action to invite you to join with us. You can sign up by going to http://www.fastingforourfuture.org.
Why 25-40 or more? Because we want to call attention to the need for the U.S. and other industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. This is a target adopted by climate negotiators from the nations of the world at a United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia in December, 2007. It is a target that, if reached, would give the world some chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
We will be fasting because we are entering a critical period in the struggle to get the U.S. government to act decisively on the climate crisis. With the introduction in the House Energy and Commerce Committee of the "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009," a process has been started that will lead to a vote in the full House this summer and in the Senate in the summer or fall. Hearings on this bill begin the week of April 20th.
We need federal legislation that mandates a definite 25-40% (1990 baseline) or more decrease in greenhouse gas emissions (35-50% from current levels). We must slash greenhouse gas emissions now! We must discourage the building of any new coal plants. And there can be no giveaways to polluters: 100% of permits to pollute under a cap must be auctioned, or a substantial carbon fee must be enacted, to ensure that the shift from fossil fuels to renewables, efficiency and earth-friendly lifestyles happens rapidly.
In addition, we support legislation with no problematic and complicating "offsets;" that provides for a just transition for workers and communities most affected by the shift away from fossil fuels; that returns a substantial percentage of the money raised to the public to help pay the increased costs of carbon-based fuels; that creates millions of green jobs and pathways out of poverty; that assists vulnerable communities and developing countries in the transition to low-carbon economies; and that enables a shift from unsustainable industrialized agriculture to sustainable practices that support family farmers.
The American people support a shift from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. A Zogby poll, for example, taken in November, 2008 reported that, "while the vast majority of Democrats (96%) and independent voters (77%) view clean energy investment as a key means to boost the U.S. economy, more than half of Republican voters (58%) also said the same."
And yet too many of our government representatives on Capitol Hill are either controlled by the coal and oil companies, are afraid of taking them on or just don't appreciate the depth of the climate crisis we are facing and the need for urgent action. Some of them, apparently, also don't appreciate that investments in renewables and efficiency create several times as many jobs as investments in dirty and polluting industries.
We are asking those who support the demands of this fast to take action in whatever ways you can, and to take action of some kind every day until a strong climate bill is signed by President Obama. A list of actions to take can be found at http://www.fastingforourfuture.org.
Again, we are entering a critical stage in our struggle for strong federal legislation by the U.S. government. More and more of us must make personal lifestyle changes to reduce our carbon footprint, and local, state and regional actions must continue, but the time is literally now for strong federal action. That is why we are initiating this call, why we intend to fast, and why we hope that you will join us in whatever ways you can.
Elliott Adams, Past President of Veterans for Peace
Craig S. Altemose, Co-coordinator, Massachusetts Power Shift
Edward Asner, Actor/Activist
Kolya Braun-Greiner, M.Div.
Sheila Collins, National Jobs for All Coalition, political science professor
Steve Crowley, S. Burlington, Vt.
Jared Duval, author and activist
AshEL Eldridge, Alliance for Climate Education, Oakland Resilience Alliance
Bruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Ted Glick, climate activist and writer
Eban Goodstein, Director, National Teach-in on Global Warming Solutions
Connie Hogarth, Climate Crisis Coalition
Jonathan Isham, Jr., Middlebury College
Earl Katz, President, Public Interest Pictures
Diane Ladd, three-time Academy Award nominee, Actress, Writer, Director
Jan Lundberg, Portland, Or., with CultureChange.org and Sail Transport Network
Jere Locke, Director, Texas Climate Emergency Campaign
Dana Kuhnline, Coordinator, Alliance for Appalachia
Elena Rojas Martinez
Fr. Paul Mayer, Climate Crisis Coalition
Bill McKibben, 350.org
Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network
Sierra Murdoch, coordinator, Power Past Coal campaign
Ethan Nuss, Maryland youth organizer
Janisse Ray, environmental author and activist
Joshua Kahn Russell, Grassroots Action Manager, Rainforest Action Network
Robert Shetterly, artist, Americans Who Tell the Truth
Vandana Shiva, author and activist
Ezra Small, Climate Crisis Coalition
Rev. Fred Small, Senior Minister, First Parish in Cambridge, MA (Unitarian Universalist),
Co-chair, Religious Witness for the Earth
Jayne Lyn Stahl, poet, essayist, founder of Writers-at-Large
Alli Chagi-Starr, Green for All, Art in Action
Tom Stokes, Coordinator, Climate Crisis Coalition
Josh Tulkin, National Field Director, Energy Action Coalition
Karen Weinberg, Cool Communities, Bath, Maine
Diane Wilson, Calhoun County Resource Watch (Texas), co-founder Code Pink
Daphne Wysham, Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies
Organizations listed for identification purposes only
Write or call firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-338-5398 to sign on or find out more information.