Fasting to share concern over environment

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Editor:

I am fasting for the first time in my life. I’ve thought about it before for spiritual reasons, with a vague feeling that denying my physical self would help me focus on the needs of my inner self. I never have followed through with it until now, and what has pushed me past the hesitation was to tangibly show my commitment to a cause that is of great urgency.

I had pledged to take action for climate leadership and part of my pledge was to join a group who are in our nation’s capital, holding a “Fast and Vigil for Climate Justice”. This courageous and committed group have gathered to show the depth of their concern for the environmental state of our planet in regards to climate change due to ever-increasing carbon emissions. I felt moved to stand with them, fasting for a few days, because for me also, this is the big issue of our day.

I am dismayed that our country (both the federal and Saskatchewan government) seem unconcerned about the effects of climate change that are being felt all over the planet, and continue to embrace more dirty energy production (greenwashing by saying it will be new, improved, clean energy). The reason seems to be business as usual, recklessly planning to exploit all available resources despite the fall-out in terms of rising global temperatures and changes to the climate that result.   

As one citizen, of Canada and the world, I stand with those who are fasting and pleading for all of us in Canada to stop, listen, learn, think about our current situation. The pressing question is: what do we want our country to be doing in the face of the drastic climate change we are in the midst of? The scientific community is agreed that it is real, and changes are happening faster than ever before. We don’t know how our ecosystems will be impacted, even scientists can only guess. It will require different kinds of adjustment from people and living things; many won’t have the means to cope and survive.

In Canada, we have been moving at a snail’s pace, with small efforts like recycling (in Swift Current, it is a bare minimum program), changing light bulbs, and government rebates for home retrofits. Instead of initiatives and research dollars for energy conservation and to promote renewable energy, our leadership is pushing for more and more devastating kinds of oil and gas exploration, and nuclear wherever they can get a wedge in for it.  

I am hungry for climate change leadership and that is why I fasted for two days, and have pledged to fast for three more days during this time. Each of us can respond in whatever way we are able. At www.climatefast.ca, the three options for action are: write a letter to your MP, write a letter to a local paper, fast for one or more days. Our individual efforts, though important are not enough in isolation. The large impacts come from the systems we are using, and we can feel helpless to change those because we need to use energy, and transportation and get food somehow.

For years, we have done our small part, yet carry on participating in the way things are done, ignoring how we are contributing to the problem, because we don’t feel we have control over the big picture. Our collective voice is the only thing that will cause an about face and changes to the status quo.  

Together we can speak out and call for responsible, visionary leadership on climate justice.  

We need it now.

Kathryn Scott - Swift Current

Geographic location: Canada, Saskatchewan, Swift Current

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