No Food

Yesterday I fasted in solidarity with the Climate Justice fasters and those who will go hungry as a result of climate change.

Maybe it was because I didn’t eat that my day seemed to be a lot worse than it actually was; I don’t know, but I won’t bore you with the details. I will, however, bore you with my discussion of the candle-light vigil.

Since we have been effectively booted from the Bella Center and whole UN process at this point, we have commandeered a hall at a the University that is hosting KlimaForum. It’s almost as good–there is a reasonably-priced food venue, chairs, internet service, and giant screens with the ongoing negotiations projected on them. This was where we held the candle-light vigil last night. It was from 5-7, but I showed up quite late due to some of the drama that happened earlier in the day.

Anna, who has been fasting for 43 days, said a few remarks as did a representative from an AOSIS state. We lit candles and formed the words “Climate Justice” out of them. There were candles everywhere. They filled the dark room with light and warmth. It was beautiful.

It was a time for quiet contemplation, but I didn’t have much time to reflect. Call me a wimp, but the lack of food made me feel perpetually awful yesterday, culminating with a throbbing headache, nausea, fever, and chills by the end of the day. I felt like I was about 100 pounds heavier than I am, and could hardly stand up by 10:00 pm (I’m better now). I habitually don’t eat on some days, but this was by far the worst. My admiration to those who, like Anna, have been fasting since early November. I guess that is sort of a physical type of contemplation, though; people the world over feel perpetually hungry and rotten like this…maybe one day there will be a global crop failure and I too will go through the same. Maybe everyone should be required to fast and then be told that if they don’t change their ways, they’re not likely to have a choice next time.

The solidarity fasters were certainly not alone. Many prominent people chose to support us as well, including Naomi Klein, the many delegates from AOSIS and African nations, and of course my heroes Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben and President Mohamed Nasheed. To participate in something when your heroes are right there next to you really makes you feel like a part of something larger, and even though it sucked at the time, I am glad we went through with it.

Go us!!

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen!!  

We have successfully completed our 350 Day of Action here in Cincinnati, Ohio!

Photo by Chuck Garber

Photo by Chuck Garber

The first thing I did this morning as I got out of bed was to wrap up my awesome 350 banner…and lug it downtown on the bus.  I was supposed to get there around 10:00, but the bus got there around 10:15, so that didn’t really go according to plan.  Actually, a lot of stuff didn’t.
Credits: Laura Fisher

Credits: Laura Fisher

It was a cold, damp, blustery morning, and I am deeply thankful for the folks who turned out dressed for the weather and bore with us–including the NewsRecord (but apparently not any of Cincinnati’s other media organizations 😦 correct me if I’m wrong!).  A couple of our speakers unfortunately had to cancel due to illness, including Tom Crain, chairman of WorldWatch, who I was really looking forward to hearing speak!
Credits: Laura Fisher

Credits: Laura Fisher

Not enough people showed up, unfortunately, for us to form a giant 350, and Fountain Square was spraying  liquid too hard for us to have a photo-op in front of it anyway.  I was shivering so hard by the time my speech came up that I simply cut out most of the speech and just made a fundraising plea (I have included what I intended to say in another post, because I said I would).  Somebody was very nice.  She brought me a hot cocoa after I came down from the stage.

The photographer showed up an hour late (I told her it was ok, and if she is reading this, it still IS ok, it’s just different than I expected), there weren’t enough people in attendance for a shot off the Carew Tower, and I never got a photo-op of folks holding my banner in front of the fountain, because everyone ran away as soon as we closed down.  And I don’t blame them!

But you know what?  It’s all okay.  None of us had ever organized anything like this in our lives, and it was a learning process every step of the way!  I, for one, took a lot away from it.  Plenty of Cincinnati’s concerned citizens gathered on the square and spoke to each other and networked; I got the word out about Copenhagen; and other speakers got their word out about greening Cincinnati.  I met awesome people to help me out in the course of planning this.  And the camaraderie was GREAT at the actual 350 event!

My mother overhead someone who had just listened to one of the lectures.  He was really upset by the science, and was telling a bystander about the terrible things that would happen if the arctic methane deposits thaw.  That’s what activism’s all about!  Educating the People!!

We are also part of a much, much larger phenomenon happening around the world–Cincinnati was one of nearly 5000 locations in 180+ countries around the world, and I’m glad I had a part in this awesome movement!!

I just wish the news were reporting more of it!  I’m watching CNN right now and have yet to hear mention of it…blah blah blah, swine flu, blah, Columbian drug lords….blah, blah, is reality TV bad for child stars?

Well, maybe reality TV is harmful for kids, but so are the effects of runaway global climate change.  I have had my rant, thank you for reading, hope you enjoy the pictures.

*All credits go to Laura Fisher, who gave me the photos (unless otherwise noted).

So, tomorrow’s the big day.  Tomorrow, the planet-wide 350 Day of Action movement kicks off, and Cincinnati is part of it!  I’m sure you have read my other entries regarding this by now…if not, please check them out!

They will be taking place across the U.S.—there will be at least a thousand actions, and this is one of the best chances to raise awareness about science and the strengthening the climate bills on Capitol Hill. 

Bill McKibben, the founder of this movement, has been sending updates to organizers, and I am going to include some of the heartwarming facts here.  Here are some other actions going on around the world:

  • Think China is callously indifferent to environmental concerns?  You are wrong!!  There will be at least 300 rallies—events are planned at iconic locations like wind-turbine farms, coastal cities, and at melting glaciers.  And with the leading environmental groups, top Chinese websites, and famous universities on board, it’s got full support from top to bottom.
  • In Kenya, 350 Maasai children will perform a jumping dance, highlighting that for their pastoral lifestyle, climate change is already underfoot.
  • In Mexico City, thousands of students and citizens will form a giant 350 human banner visible from the air in the famous Venustiano Carranza Plaza.
  • Organizers in Sydney and Beijing are forming giant human 3’s, while activists in London and Delhi make huge 5’s, and citizens in Copenhagen and Quito form enormous 0’s, together making a global 350, a symbol of the need for all of us to work together.
  • And in terms of working across boundaries, it is good to know that students in occupied Afganistan and Iraq are hosting events; so are American soldiers.
  • And that’s not all–on the shores of the dwindling Dead Sea, Israeli activists will make a giant human 3 on their beach, Palestinians a huge 5 on their shore, and the Jordanians a 0 on theirs.

And on and on and on…after all, there are nearly 5000 of these events planned worldwide!

I hope I will see you at ours!  If they can do it, so can you.  So can we!