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Hungry for change: Today I fast for the planet

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Connie Sorio

 “I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.  I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother; as one who laments his mother, I bowed down in mourning.” - Psalm 35:13-14

Today, February 28, I am fasting because I am hungry for change.  I am one of the many Canadians and climate justice seekers around the world participating in the 365 Rolling Fast for the Climate, which began on December 1 at the UN climate conference in Lima, Peru, and will end November 30, the first day of the climate conference in Paris, France.

It will be my second fast for this campaign, having participated on February 20. I am also taking a two-month carbon fast, eschewing participation in high carbon activities.

I have fasted before as a means to bring attention to important issues. In the Philippines, I fasted in solidarity with political prisoners who were on hunger strike demanding their immediate release, speedy and fair trials, better treatment and better prison conditions. 

Today I consider my fast both a political and spiritual action. 

I am a practicing Christian. As Psalm 35:13-14 says, I am fasting to grieve for my friends, brothers and sisters in the Philippines, in the Pacific, in Canada and around the world who have survived and are facing extreme weather calamities such as the Super Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines in 2013.

I am fasting for those who are hungry and dying of starvation because of drought or flash flooding. I am fasting because the accelerated thawing of the tundra is impacting the lives and food sources of our brothers and sisters in Northern Canada. I am fasting for those who are forced to resettle to higher ground or move to another island country in the Pacific because of rising sea levels and in the process, are displaced from the land that nourished and nurtured their ancestors and the generations before them. I fast for the loss of their culture and identity, and the likely discrimination and racism they will face in the country to which they will have to resettle. 

My fasting today is my act of mourning for the unnecessary loss, the grief and suffering that my brothers and sisters are experiencing as a result of climate change. In the Global South, they are paying the price for the unprecedented greed for profit of those who dictate economic policies that exploit and destroy Mother Earth, and of co-opted and corrupt governments that promote the corporate agenda rather than the welfare of their people.

I fast and pray with my head bowed to my chest in humility of my own complicity and insufficient action.

Today I call those in power and heads of state to change the course of climate change and commit to reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. I ask them to end the destruction of Mother Earth through all forms of irresponsible resource extraction and environmental degradation. I call on them to allocate more resources to support communities facing severe impacts of climate change including recognition of and protection to climate refugees.   

I challenge you to join me in fasting and hold to light those who are now facing the manifestations and impacts of climate change.

Connie Sorio is the Ecological Justice and Partnership Coordinator of KAIROS Canada

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