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!!


So far on this quest of ours, I have shaken hands with Cincinnati’s elected officials, met Obama’s motorcade on the blockaded streets of Pittsburgh, eaten Skyline with a British diplomat–and now I have met Vandana Shiva, the physicist turned world-famous environmental activist.  I’ve sort of been a fan ever since I started reading her informative book, Water Wars (which I do recommend).

I feel so privileged to have heard her speak tonight at Xavier University about soil–its role in environmental health, in human societies, and how India’s green revolution has senselessly and needlessly destroyed their nation’s soil.  She  also made notes about COP15 in Copenhagen, for which I am grateful as well–she put into plain and simple words the issues that I have been reading about for months and slowly coming to comprehend: the UNFCCC is the only international environmental treaty that the world has (the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t count; the US Senate never ratified it) and the US is making moves to dismantle it.  Carbon trading is the same concept as indulgences were to the Rennaissance-era Catholic church.  And did you know that soil can act as a carbon sink?  I did, but I didn’t realize that well-managed, organically-tended soil could have 200% the capacity as regular.  GOOD TO KNOW since I am currently researching carbon sinks.

Dr. Vandana Shiva was a lively, authoritative and engaging speaker, and the only thing I regret is that it had to come to an end…I think learned more tonight than I did in my Environmental Science classes.

Because I’m turning into an attention whore, I went up and spoke with her after the lecture.  I thanked her for her presence and told her about my role as a youth delegate at Copenhagen–and I got her to sign my very well-loved (read: battered) copy of Water Wars.  I think I’ll put it next to my Sheikh Mohammed photo…or better yet, put it in my suitcase for Copenhagen where I hope to meet her once more!