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Why I fast for the climate every month

12 June 2014

If, like me, you plan your day around meals, you’ll know the comforting routine is hard to break: porridge before leaving the house; morning coffee at 11; lunch with a friend; and tea (as they call it where I’m from) to round off the day.

In fact, like me, you might already be thinking about tomorrow’s meals before you get into bed. That’s because I’m lucky enough to love food, and to have enough.

Inspiration from the Philippines

A woman holding a sign which says 'We #fast for the climate'

When I heard Yeb Saño, lead delegate for the Philippines, had decided to give up eating during last year’s UN climate conference; I knew I had to join him. 

He had just witnessed his homeland devastated by Typhoon Haiyan and was desperate to shake world leaders from their inaction on climate change.

Unscripted, he announced his intention to fast in solidarity with all those affected by a changed climate until the conference ended, or until leaders ‘stopped the madness.’

I joined him because I realised breaking out of my comfort zone might be just what I needed - to replace the predictable regular intake of food with uncomfortable skipping of meals and pangs of hunger - to replace consumption with a time of prayer or reflection.

The temporary pain of hunger reminds me that for millions of people around the world: this is a daily reality.

The power of fasting

This year, along with thousands of others, I’m continuing to join Yeb on the first of every month to go without food.

Whether it’s one meal or the whole day, fasting has huge spiritual significance. It’s often used as a means of repentance – a turning away from harmful practices and dedicating ourselves once again to choose a new, better path.

In many cases, fasting has also had huge political significance too; demonstrating this strong commitment cannot be ignored.

Last month in an interview with the Guardian, Yeb said: ‘Fasting is one of the most powerful means of peaceful action to drive change. It is both a symbolic and active form of transformational change. People fast become agents of change and instruments of justice.’

I can’t tell you that fasting is always a fun way to make a stand. But being part of a global movement desperate to make the world a better place for everyone is definitely worth trying.

This blog is part of our monthly fast for the climate. Find out more and join in here

Photo credit: Fast for the Climate - fastfortheclimate.org

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