Testimony From The Fasters

Joining the Fast For No New Permits, too? Let us know by signing up here and sending a photo with a brief statement to gregorybyost@gmail.com.

Also, is your group endorsing or participating in the Fast? Email us to add your group’s name to the list below!

NOPE (No Pipeline Expansion—a CT, MA, NY and RI grassroots coalition)
Francis Eatherington, Roseburg, OR

IMG_0786“I will be fasting to help FERC understand the devastation caused by permitting projects like the Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal and pipeline in my home state of Oregon. In September FERC will be releasing their final environmental study which will likely claim there is no harm from exporting fracked natural gas from Oregon to Asia.

FERC will allow Veresen, a foreign corporation, to take land from over 300 Oregonians, including my land, with eminent domain to build a 230-mile pipeline across our state’s pristine forests and farmland, ending at Coos Bay on the Pacific coast.  There, in an area overdue for a subduction-zone earthquake and tsunami, FERC will allow the LNG export terminal to be built on a sand dune.

I am fasting because FERC has not responded to the thousands of comments Oregonians have submitted. They have only responded to Veresen’s “need” to raise gas prices so that “exploration” (fracking) can continue and expand.

I am fasting because the Jordan Cove project would impact 33 imperiled plant and animal species, including 7 species of whales. It will severely harm the rare spotted owl, a species we protect on our property.

This September FERC is scheduled to order us to give 8 acres of our land to Veresen, forcing us to help facilitate the destruction of the world. I’m fasting because I’ve tried everything else, so now I will try this.”

Jamie DeMarco, Baltimore, MD

Profile Pic“I often find it difficult to express how much I sincerely and personally care about acting on climate change. Fasting  can effectively make clear those inner beliefs because a fast can only be completed with a conviction more powerful than the instinct to eat when you’re starving. To survive empty of food you have to fill yourself with the light of the world, and that light will illuminate for everyone what I already know is within me.

Speaking about our passion is like telling your friend about a view in the middle of the night. Your words cannot compare with how it feels when the sun rises and they can see the landscape. A fast is the sun rising within us, allowing others to see the landscape of our heart.

I want FERC to know that, for me, climate change is more than a political issue, and my fast will make that clear.”

Green Mountain College’s Activism Club, Poultney, VT

GMC Fasters“At Green Mountain College, there is a strong environmental mission that can be found in our student body, faculty, and all staff. Goals have been set through our Sustainability 2020 plan, which embodies environmental, financial, and social sustainability for  our college, but the implementation of it is done mostly through student-led and researched projects. When the time comes to take action (which is long past), our student body will not hesitate to sacrifice their time, energy, and even food to make an impact throughout campus and the world.

On Tuesday, September 8th, 15 students joined the Beyond Extreme Energy campaign to send our support to the fasters in Washington D.C., as well as to raise awareness about the issues in our campus and community. Most of those students only decided to fast for one day, but several are going for three or more days. From a total of more than twenty students fasting during the next week, there will be over 50 days of cumulative fasting.

Those who are fasting join together during meal times every day to direct our intentions to the protest, as well as other changes we want to see in the world. Creative art is coming out of the meetings in the form of songs and a quilt square that will soon be sent to join the rest in D.C. Most of all, there is strong support from everyone around campus, and it is a wonderful thing to be a part of. Keep it up, everybody!”

Chance Whitby, Fond du Lac, WI

11997068_10154328722818973_17658206_n“I stand in solidarity with the #BXE D.C faster for all of those negatively impacted by fossil fuel extraction, refinement and for our Mother Earth, the caretaker of humanity. We have neglected our Mother Earth! No New Permits honors both those affected by displacement, diseases related to fossil fuel extraction and our Mother Earth.”

Lisa Petrie, Carolina, RI

IMG_2717There will come a time in the next few years when humanity’s fate will be decided one way or the other;
when we’ll know that we’ve either narrowly avoided runaway, catastrophic global warming, or set it inexorably in motion.  When that time comes, I don’t want to have to ask myself what more I could’ve done to stop it:  the time for that question is now.

As a mother, I’m anxious to do everything I can to secure a safe and livable future for my sons.   And when I think of the millions of mothers on the front lines of global warming around the world, whose children are suffering and dying from hunger or water-borne diseases, or carried away by floodwaters, or left homeless, shivering, and traumatized after a typhoon or mudslide—not to mention the children  orphaned by such disasters–I can’t begin to imagine what they must feel or how they find the strength
to go on.  I’m fasting to call attention to this unimaginable suffering.  I’ll be fasting sunrise-to-sunset for three days; it’s a significant sacrifice for me, and I probably wouldn’t do it if I were employed or had small children to care for.  But, considering what’s at stake, it seems like the least I can do.

I’m also fasting to remind myself and anyone who reads this that Americans are more than just consumers.  That we’re not slaves to comfort, convenience, or the whim of the moment.   That we’re more than capable of sacrificing for the greater good, as we’ve done time and again throughout our history:  in fact, we hunger for meaning and purpose in our lives, for deeper and more mutually
sustaining connections with the rest of our human and non-human families, just as we hunger for food.
Yes, we’ll have to make some sacrifices to solve this crisis—but these hardships are nothing compared to what we and our children will face if we fail.

To any FERC employees who may be reading this (I’ve met a few of you, and you seemed like good people):  I wonder if you ever think about the implications of your work—about the lives of the people who live near the fracking wells, pipelines, compressor stations, and LNG terminals that FERC authorizes.  When you hear about fracking-related earthquakes or water contamination, or yet another gas pipeline explosion, do you ask yourself if FERC bears any responsibility?  Are you aware that, contrary to popular belief, “natural” gas is even more dangerous for the climate than coal or oil?

Of course, it’s not your fault—you’re only doing your job (as it’s been defined for you), or only doing as you’re told; and anyway, if you didn’t do it, someone else would.  Perhaps you have no say in the permitting decisions and are just doing your bit to keep the agency running.  But does that really get you off the hook?  Haven’t we heard those kinds of arguments somewhere before?
I’m not saying I’d do anything differently in your place.  I’m not a very courageous person, and I’m very thankful that I’ve never been forced to choose between my livelihood and my conscience.  But maybe someone among you is braver than I—maybe someone has had enough and is ready to speak truth to power.  Maybe someone is ready to step up and become one of the heroes (or sheroes) of our time.

“Don’t be tempted by the shiny apple
Don’t you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
‘Cause All that you have is your soul
–Tracy Chapman

Charles Chandler, on the road climate activist

FastPic“I’ve been involved with BXE for some time. I’m pleased that I can join in this powerful new action. I see my action as an act of love for people of the third world who are starving or are threatened with starvation, displacement, social breakdown and warfare as a result of carbon emissions of the industrialized countries of the world. The United States comprises about 4.4 percent of the world population and we’ve emitted about half of the world total carbon emissions. The fact is our behavior is killing people now and will kill many more people in the future.  The people of the world need the U.S. to lead the way in embracing renewable energy sources and leaving fossil fuel stockpiles in the ground.

FERC is a rogue US agency which caters to the needs of fossil fuel corporations by issuing permits for new fossil fuel projects. There is no democracy in the FERC review procedure and there is no consideration given to carbon dioxide emissions or methane leakage.  Their permits make these corporate projects the law of the land, the people effected must submit, they have no choice.

I believe our fast will get the attention of the American people. I’m optimistic that good will come from this action.”
Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC

ww“We are Warren Wilson College from Asheville, North Carolina and we are fasting to demand that FERC passes no new fossil fuel permits! We are ten Warren Wilson College community members and we have been fasting in solidarity with Beyond Extreme Energy and the frontline community members directly affected by natural gas infrastructure. We are outraged at FERC for passing permits — directly destroying mother earth. Although fasting has been difficult for us as students at a work college, we believe that the effects fossil fuel infrastructures have on frontline community members and the catastrophic effects of climate change that are destroying our land, water, and air are far worse than a few days without eating. We demand: NO NEW FOSSIL FUEL PERMITS NOW!”

Dennis Mudloff, Nebraska

2010-06-04 07.29.34“I am taking part in the FERC fast to show support for those on the front line at DC but also for the nearly 1 in 10 Americans currently living within 10 miles of a contaminated military site.

I learned the hard way that US water testing standards are woefully antiquated. Thousands of possible contaminants in the groundwater go untested because those chemicals are currently unregulated. Sometimes even the very contaminant that is known to be in the groundwater is not included in the testing battery because it is not required by law to do so.

If  the American public were made aware of the already hazardous conditions regarding our environment we would see change. Who is responsible for making the American public aware of the threats to the environment?

In closing I would like to state that, in my humble opinion, confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements are unethical and should be outlawed when the information kept secret would or could have a negative impact on human health and or the environment.”

Ellen Weininger, Westchester County, NY

SAPEPATCHR“Friday, September 25, 2015

FASTING FOR LIFE

This past week* I began a one day water fast in solidarity with 12 fasters ranging in ages from 19 to 72 who’ve been in Washington, D.C. for Beyond Extreme Energy’s 18-day water only “Fast for No New Permits” for fossil fuel infrastructure in front of the offices of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a rubber stamp commission funded by the industry. These 12 courageous and determined fasters represent allies across the nation that have exhausted every avenue to no avail to stop FERC’s assembly line approval of gas infrastructure projects including compressor stations, pipelines, export and storage terminals. The growing movement’s collective mission is to also get FERC to disconnect with the fossil fuel industry and place renewable energy first, a critical measure in the face of our global climate emergency.

We live in a time when we already have the technical and economic capacity for readily available renewable energy solutions using wind, water and sunlight to meet 100% of our energy needs by 2030 and at the latest by 2050 according to Dr. Mark Jacobson, and co-authors of a groundbreaking study that has lead to the development of roadmaps for renewable energy solutions for all 50 states and 139 countries around the world. Although, political will and full public commitment remain significant roadblocks, a growing number of communities and countries worldwide are meeting their energy needs through energy-efficiency, conservation measures and renewable energy and new battery storage technology is rapidly improving renewable energy potential.

What’s the significance of these renewable energy solutions? This all translates into reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy independence and security, improved water and air quality, protection of public health, lower health care costs, stabilization of energy costs, reduction in electrical power demand through increased efficiency and truly green job growth. Yet, FERC’s irresponsible
rubber-stamping of gas infrastructure will unnecessarily lock us into heavily polluting and climate changing fossil fuels for many decades to come at great financial cost and with accelerated degradation of our climate, natural resources and public health.

There’s simply nothing natural or clean about “natural” gas and it’s not a bridge fuel, as industry would like us to believe. It’s primarily composed of methane, a far more potent heat trapping gas than carbon dioxide. In fact, methane is 86X more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its greenhouse gas footprint across its entire lifecycle of extraction, processing and distribution may exceed coal according to
peer-reviewed scientific studies by Howarth, Ingraffea et al. Real climate leaders do not promote gas or any other fossil fuels.

The time is now to act on climate change without further delay. If we do, then maybe we’ll have a shot at barely avoiding spiraling, catastrophic global warming. If we put off action until some elusive tomorrow, we’ll have chosen its irreversible path. Reducing the world’s need for fossil fuels and harvesting renewable energy would not only reduce severe threats posed by climate change it would help diminish global conflicts.

My natural instincts as a mother are to protect my children and do everything possible to ensure a viable and safe future for them and all children on this planet. Learning about climate change years ago, I never imagined that I would see its relentless ravages in my own lifetime. Extreme droughts, floods, record heat, pollution and dwindling water resources have become daily events nationwide and across the globe, and with it, unimaginable destruction, suffering and devastating impacts to public health and ecosystems. Busy as we all may be, we simply cannot look the other way in the face of this crisis and just hope for the best or governmental leadership to drive change.

My fast was also undertaken in solidarity with the people in my community and across New York and the Northeast who I’ve had the privilege of working with the last several years facing first hand the challenges of FERC’s alliance with the fossil fuel industry and its unbending mission to approve every compressor station and pipeline application in the queue. Despite tireless opposition, FERC has given permission to Spectra Energy to massively expand the Algonquin pipeline across New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts as part of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project which will spew millions of tons of greenhouse gases and toxins each year heavily polluting our air and water in regions that already do not meet air quality standards and exacerbating climate change. Who will benefit? Leaving a vast sacrifice zone in its wake, the pipeline will transport much of the gas to Canada for export overseas commanding much higher prices and increasing corporate profits while the public suffers the harm and bears the cost.

As if that were not enough, a new 42 inch diameter, high pressure gas pipeline segment, as part of the AIM project, was approved to be sited only 105 feet from critical structures at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County, New York. Construction will begin this week (October 2015) despite the litany of grave concerns about the defective internal risk analyses conducted by Entergy, the Indian Point plant operator and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) without involvement of any expertise in pipeline thermodynamics. According to pipeline and nuclear safety experts, the siting of the pipeline next to Indian Point, in the event of a pipeline rupture, could cause a scenario similar to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, where plant operators were unable to cool reactors and spent fuel pools due to a loss of all power. These safety experts have been insisting that a thorough, independent and transparent risk assessment is imperative, but was never done despite the fact that the pipeline siting next to the nuclear plant puts 20 million people who live within a 50 mile radius in the NY tri-state area, its infrastructure and economy squarely in harm’s way.

Pipeline ruptures occur frequently, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline Hazardous Material and Safety Administration (PHMSA), with 119 gas transmission pipeline accidents reported in 2014 alone. That’s an average of nearly one accident every 3 days.

Furthermore, the safety experts indicate that new, critical information obtained in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents from the NRC shows that the NRC used incorrect information to justify its conclusion that there is no additional risk posed by the siting of the AIM gas pipeline next to Indian Point and improper calculations were used that significantly underestimate the danger. Finally, they note that approval of the project was based on this false information and had accurate information and correct calculations been used instead, the siting of the pipeline alongside Indian Point would most certainly not have been approved.

This is unthinkable! Something that you probably thought could never happen here, but, it will, unless everyone of us does something about it by speaking up and persistently calling elected officials to insist they fully and publicly address this emergency now. Construction of the AIM project must be halted and a rigorous, independent, and transparent risk assessment must be conducted immediately. Please visit www.sape2016.org for contact information and to sign the Pledge of Resistance to the Algonquin pipeline expansion.

We don’t want to ask ourselves later what we could’ve done to stop this reckless pipeline project, other fossil fuel infrastructure and our climate crisis. It will be too late. Now’s the time to act, to do all we can.

* (after a fast on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement)

‪#‎STOPSPECTRA‬ ‪#‎BXEFAST‬ ‪#‎NONEWPERMITS‬ ‪#‎FERCUS‬‪#‎NOPIPELINES‬ ‪#‎ACTONCLIMATE‬

Berenice Tompkins, Hastings On Hudson, NY

Attachment-1“I need to focus, and we need to focus.

For me, participating in the Fast at the FERC for ten days has both a personal and a political dimension. The personal dimension is that I want to focus on rising to the challenge and seizing the incredible opportunity the climate crisis presents. I continuously search for ways to center my life on this opportunity. Last year, I was able to do so through walking across the country with the Great March for Climate Action, alongside many people who are now fellow fasters. All day every day, I got to use both my mind and body to spark conversation and connection about how we can deal with climate change and create the world we want to see.

The Fast at the FERC provides a new opportunity to engage my entire being – mind, body and spirit – in climate action. I hope it will also deepen my focus on a literal level. I often find that my day-to-day reality distracts me from what I really find most important. While food is an important part of nourishing myself, community, society and the earth, I sometimes also use it as a diversion, eating for comfort or momentary relief from the difficult work of facing and organizing around climate change.

This fast means that for a little while, I will be removed from one form of immediate, physical distraction and have that extra space to stay in touch with my heart’s goals and direction. It may also, as is described by many people who fast, deepen and clarify my focus on a physiological level. I know lots of beautiful work will be done among a community of people who for three weeks are embracing together such clarity of purpose.

The political dimension of my fast is that I’m also advocating for this focus to be transferred to our collective consciousness. Living in a capitalist and individualist society here in the US, many of us are taught to stay absorbed in our own day-to-day reality, and not to understand ourselves as connected to, dependent upon or responsible for any larger community or whole. We are also taught that material comfort is the highest form of freedom and fulfillment.

By taking away one element of my usual material life to focus on my connection to everything outside me, I encourage us as a society to embrace the interconnectedness and mutual responsibility that Pope Francis so beautifully describes in Laudato Si. I also hope to explore the idea that acting to halt climate chaos helps secure freedoms for all life that are far more significant than my ability to eat what I want for ten days. And it is amazing to see what fulfillment our mutual love and support are bringing as a community of fasters and a larger community committed to climate action. I was reminded of this today, when a fellow faster described the hug he’d just received as a “breakfast hug”!”

Brenda Tenerelli, Weaverville, NC

“It is essential to support this cause for no fracking in support of our planet and activists, and fasting is one way I feel I can make a difference. I am happy to participate in this & look forward to any help or change this brings in the right direction.”

Deborah Wooley, Seattle, WA

me“I am fasting because of the water.
I am fasting in solidarity with those
who care about and care for the water,
water which is all that the fasters are depending on to sustain their bodies,
water which sustains all life,
water which is in short supply here
where the forests are dying
where fires have sprung up everywhere
where the crops will not grow,
water which, when it arrives,
comes in torrential rains
flooding the land, washing away topsoil,
water which is polluted by tar sands excavation
and mountain top removal
and oil spills from trains and pipelines,
water which catches on fire
when we turn on our spigots,
water which is contaminated
by the fracking
approved and sanctioned
by FERC.

I fast for the water
that it may once again flow
dependably, abundant and pure,
sustaining all life.”

Mackenzie Wilkins, Baltimore, MD

Me!~“I remember running through the woods as a child, climbing trees, tasting plants, playing with bugs, swimming in streams and lakes, basking in the warm summer sun, trudging through the winter snow. I loved being outside and formed a close bond with nature. But, this connection was fragile and my life did not depend on it. I didn’t grow my own food or harvest my water. These were served to me in fast food restaurants and buffets. I started to spend more time in school than in nature. At first I hated it, then I learned to live with it, and then I stopped questioning it. Nature became little more than a retreat, somewhere I could visit to get away. This went on for many years, even as I became politicized. I started to do social justice activism, doing work to address immediate concerns in people’s lives due to poverty, discrimination, or corrupt politicians, but I didn’t see how this connected to the environment or my past love for earth. The environmental groups that I knew were concerned with things so far away— glaciers, rainforests, carbon in the atmosphere. What did this have to do with the daily lives of people in my community?

Eventually, I was introduced to environmental justice and I began to see the connections between human and ecological exploitation. I saw how people’s lives were impacted by fracking, mining, or animal agriculture. I worked in a poor black and Latin@ community in the shadow of a tar sands refinery and I started to see the connections to racial and class disparities—such a facility would never be placed in the white suburbs. I started organizing against the refinery and then joined up with a group of people walking across the country for climate justice. On the march we visited many communities impacted by ecological destruction. Their struggles and others inspire me to make change in this world. I am Fasting in solidarity with my many teachers—those who daily struggle with oppression and those who fight back—and I am Fasting to reflect on my privilege and my relationship to earth. I am also Fasting to be with friends, old and new.”

Leigh Sigmon Siler, Asheville, NC

LeighSigmonSiler-89“I am organizing a ‘rolling fast’ in my community because I want to stand up for what I believe and my concerns for all people and our planet. I think doing this fast will not only be a transformative experience for our local community, but hopefully a transformative experience for our global community. This fast will be a spiritual and emotional way for me to connect with the suffering of our earth and those most affected by the fossil fuel industry. Being a young teenager, I know my generation and the generations after me are going to suffer most from current energy policies. I want to act on behalf of future generations, and their right to live on a healthy planet.”

Sean Fernand Glenn, Simsbury, CT

unnamed“I fast to reach new understanding.  I see pictures of starving children, if you can even call them children, being nothing but skin and bones, simply a skeleton, far surpassing the innocence of a child, and I know I will not look like them even after 18 days without food.  I am not starving like so many souls on this planet.  Quite honestly I allowed myself to indulge a bit more in the food I love oh so much in preparation for this fast.  That is not starving, no one prepares for starvation.  And I will come out being honored with nourishment, this I have no doubt in my mind will be the case. Thank you all, for I am blessed.

I fast in hopes of reaching some new connection to those with so little, to those with with nothing but dirty air to breathe.  With the climate changes that are already so far in place, anyone who allows themself to look at the reality of our future is painfully aware that there will be many more begging for food, begging for a chance to live.  I fast to take time to pray for those who need love and care.  I fast at FERC because they know what they are doing.  And the harder they try to hide away from the state of our world, the more honestly the tired world will present itself to them.  The FERC represents everything we need to break away from and bury far deep in the ground where Mother Nature can work her magic and turn our poisons into something alive and fruitful.  The FERC is literally spewing death across the globe.  That’s what fossil fuels are, ancient lives lain to rest.  And they continue to unearth these souls, infecting our air, our water, our lungs and our children’s lungs with this death, leaving our fellow earth creatures writhing in illness and confusion over what to do to save us all. FERC could use some better understanding, they should take a look inside and really see themselves as they are, as the Hades of our time, the commissioners are nothing more than a five headed dog toying with our livelihoods in their love of power and money, driven by greedy, sick, lost souls.

We all need healing. I hope that while my body purges poisons and cleanses itself throughout these 18 days, FERC will allow itself to see that is what we need, dedication to healing and understanding, a serious breaking away from old unhealthy habits, an opportunity to start anew and begin again in our truest forms, as stewards of the Earth and all the love which it supports.  The longer this fossil fuel nonsense continues, the less I am able to see a future for humans.  And this is okay, we will come to an end someday, as everything does.  I just hope we are able to reach this end with grace and dedication to our common Mother which we all are so intimately tied to.  We owe so much to her.  Let’s let our love guide us to the end.  I think there will be many more smiles and full bellies for it.”

Ellen Barfield, Baltimore, MD

DSC_1900“I will join the fast, probably juice not water, for the spiritual and group strength it develops. Fasting with colleagues for a political purpose is such a strong statement of principle. Mildly, on juice, or not so mildly on water only, suffering while advocating ending fracking permits can strongly impact FERC workers, corporate employees, and politicians as well as our activist colleagues, and at this particular time so many other sympathetic activists who will be in DC for the Pope. We in the core group of BXE fasters, and the larger anti-climate change community, will be using so many techniques during the Pope’s visit, and I’m excited that BXE will have this ongoing presence for this important month. I’m wondering if we might plan on another shorter fast or other event during the big Paris climate summit in November too.”

Herb Fitzell, Richmond, VA

Herbert Fitzell“I am fasting in order to focus on Pope Francis’ call for personal conversion and cultural transformation. Laudato Si’ shares with us what is most beautiful in two thousand years of Christian social teaching. My intention is, in the words of Francis, “ … to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.” In our rapidly paced world, I have frequently not been grateful for the food I have received or the goods I have taken from our earth. This fast will allow me the opportunity to reflect on Francis’ call to “… stop and give thanks to God before and after meals. I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful custom. That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labour provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.”  I hope to answer Francis’ call not only by remembering this fast and saying grace in the future, but by also discovering what I can do to care for creation. My intention is to better understand the meaning of Laudato Si’, and to act upon it.

My fast is also an expression of solidarity with the world’s scientists who have labored so hard to nail down the empirical data on climate change, and with the activists who have sacrificed so much to make known to a broader public those environmental facts from which the United States Congress continues to run. It is an expression of solidarity with the poor of this world and with all the creatures with whom we share our planet. It is a cry in solidarity with all creation — which now cries out to those whose hearts are hardened and who would hold Earth herself in bondage — “Let my people go”!”

Jerome Wagner, Wayne, NJ

Jerome BXE FastHere in Wayne, our frontline concerns are transmission infrastructure (pipelines and trains, specifically), extreme weather (e.g., Irene, Lee, and Superstorm Sandy), and profligate consumption. I’ve been a climate activist since 2009 and I’ve been arrested for climate-related non-violent civil disobedience a number of times. Fasting is a next step for me. I will be fasting for myself (for continued personal conversion), my children, their children, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, extraction communities, refugees, climate alarmists and climate deniers, and everyone else – we’re all in this boat together, aren’t we?! My greatest hope is to tap into the Spiritual Reserve that runs through all, and to therein find a life beyond violence – beyond fear – and beyond extreme extraction.”

Jimmy Betts, Omaha, NE (organizer-at-large)
jimmybetts_water

Fiddle on the Water

“Though I organize with people resisting fossil fuel and extreme energy exploitation, I choose to focus my fast on the sacred significance of water — a sustaining and determining factor in my life and for countless lifeforms on this planet.

I fast not on an assumption of mystical qualities that are beyond mortal grasp, but on the relationship of natural co-reality that was and is a primordial way of existing by spiritua-logically connected people.  I fast for an end to the ongoing genocide of indigenous and First Nation people who lived in these right relationships with nature long before the colonization of the so-called United States began nearly 500 years ago.  I fast for those experiencing many forms of water shortage through climate change & drought, corporatized industrial farming practices, fracking & the deplorable privatization of water rights.

I choose to maintain myself on water alone as a demonstration of the essential sustaining power with water we share as human beings, the resolve of ignited human spirit, and the influence of unified organizing that intentionally breaks down walls in a flood of collective liberation.


video by Kelsey Erickson

Let us unite with water and resist the fracked gas devastation and corporate machinations of oppression together.”

Noel Benoist, Oak Flat, Arizona

noel_1

“In the very beginning of European immigrants landing in the lands of America, they were spiritually awake people who were persecuted by those who wished to control people in their home lands. ALL our people got along very well.

THEN the Kings saw an open door to a land with abundant wealth and they sent their government co-operative church leaders with orders to control “the new world” and bring the wealth back to their king! The Kings even fought one one another trying to get more! The colonists decided to get into the race for money and power so they revolted against the Kings and deceived our people in order to get our help. After the Kings were defeated our so called friends became our enemies as they showed their evil time and again.

Every time wealth was found they have violated agreements and taken more and more. As an example they TAKE what is worth two trillion dollars then they compromise and give half back. THEY ARE STILL KEEPING ONE TRILLION THAT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO OUR PEOPLE! ALL our relation must say “No more compromise and no more tolerance toward our future being stolen and destroyed!”

ALL of the original people of the continent of North America must unite as one nation made up of the several tribes! Then we have the power to stand as one great nation against the oppressive nation!”

~Noel Benoist D. D.
First National Historian for NAIV (National American Indian Veterans)

Lee Stewart, Washington DC

11329825_810296966365_7111538764146931848_n“To fast is absurd. This is true especially for someone like me who doesn’t believe anything absent systemic, revolutionary change will do much good. Though the fast may be an embodiment of absurdity, I still do it. I do it because it’s no more absurd than what FERC does every day–each FERC permit another nail in the coffin for a town, another nail in the coffin for a community, another nail in the coffin for the climate. Fasting may carry the scent of death, but it is FERC that truly bears that scent most authentically. No, unlike FERC, this fast isn’t about death or suffering. Instead, it’s about commitment. Unwavering commitment to the truth that ALL fossil fuel permits at FERC must stop now! Unwavering commitment to the extraordinary individuals all around the country who are standing up to defend the people and places they love from what FERC does. Unwavering commitment to each other in a world torn asunder by the divisive god of economic growth. Unwavering commitment to interconnectedness, the realities of collective liberation, and the truth that we win it all together, or we win nothing at all. I fast to internalize these commitments. And when I’m weak, I’ll find strength knowing the walls of FERC, grounded in the rot of money-driven world, will inevitably crumble and fall when put under the weight of a loving community grounded in commitment”

Kelsey Erickson, Oak Flat, AZ

Kelsey Erickson_shrink“The first time I fasted was almost two years ago in solidarity with Yeb Sano, delegate of the Philippines. In solidarity with his brother and his people who had been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, he made a pledge at the U.N. COP 19 to give up food “until concrete pledges have made to ensure mobilization of resources for the green climate fund.” I fasted for 48 hours so as to better empathize with the extreme suffering that current climate change victims are facing. It was one of the most difficult physical and emotional tribulations I’d ever endured but was still incomparable to what true victims of a monstrous global society are enduring every day.

This time I will be fasting for a much longer period of time and expect to be dangerously close to the brink of death. But I feel that is the level of conviction needed in order to overcome the corrupt forces that seek to colonize, destroy and kill the land and the people who stand in their way. In solidarity with my friends on the East Coast who are fasting to call on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to cease approval of permits for fracked gas infrastructure, I will be fasting at Oak Flat to call on Senator McCain to repeal the land exchange bill that gave Oak Flat away to Resolution Copper, a partnership between Rio Tinto and BHPBillion, the two largest mining companies in the world. Not only is this region a public treasure that is part of federally protected Tonto National Forest but it is also sacred land to the Apache nation whose rights have once again been violated and utterly disregarded. The last time this land was colonized, a group of Apaches chose to leap off a cliff instead of secede themselves to prison life on a reservation. In honor of their willingness to sacrifice their lives in defiance of those who sought to conquer and destroy, I too feel I must do everything in my power to defy the corrupt, capitalist nation that is the United States and support the birth of a new nation where all tribes and all races are truly united.”

Jane Johnson, Amherst, MA

Jane 2004002“I will be fasting on September 24th, which would have been my brother’s 70th birthday. He died April 1st on his bicycle in Canberra, Australia, before he had finished his novel about Climate Change, The Green Bag. Here in Amherst, MA, I’m working with Quakers, other faith groups, and Raging Grannies to fight the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. Here’s a song I’ve just written, inspired by that work and BXE.

Super Sell Us Fractured Justice Pipeline Export Outrage
(to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”)

Super Sell Us Fractured Justice Pipeline Export Outrage
Even though the truth of it belongs on every front page
What goes in is what comes out: the same old corp’rate sewage
Super Sell Us Fractured Justice Pipeline Export Outrage

Neu-ro-tox-ins, mu-ta-gens, and en-do-crine dis-rup-tors
First you fracture, then you pipe it thru the infrastructure
Methane gas gets vented by the pipeline and compressor
Neu-ro-tox-ins, mu-ta-gens, and en-do-crine dis-rup-tors

Blood dis-or-ders, car-di-o, car-cin-o-gen-ic mixture
Ra-dio-ac-tive, res-p’ra-tor-y ir-ri-tant emit-ter
If you say it fast enough, the citizens won’t twitter
Blood disorders, cardio, carcinogenic mixture.

Um diddle, diddle diddle, um diddle ay
Um diddle, diddle diddle, um diddle ay
Um diddle, diddle diddle, um diddle ay
Um diddle, diddle diddle, um diddle ay

Charlie Strickler, Harrisonburg, VA

CharlieStrickler“As I continue to read the science of climate change, I know something has to be done. It’s pretty simple chemistry and physics, not too hard to understand. I started my personal journey by trying to be more sustainable. I changed light bulbs, recycled, etc. and moved on to more serious things such as home energy efficiency, solar panels, and an electric car. I can’t change rising CO2 levels alone as it grows exponentially. What’s next?

My own next step was being willing to be arrested in front of the Whitehouse protesting something tangible, the KXL pipeline, which resulted in a little success. Now it is time to try to influence a few people in my little corner of the world by demonstrating my personal commitment through fasting in front of FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). Trying to influence FERC not to permit fossil fuel infrastructure and be a rubber stamp of big moneyed interest is just another stepping stone to reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. If it is built, it will be used to increase our CO2 pollution.

I hope to draw on the strength of others who are fasting in this struggle to help get things moving to protect our planet from ourselves. I love life and hate to think what we may be leaving future generations. Emulation is not an option at this point for me.

As a way forward, stopping pipelines is not enough. We need to put a serious price on carbon to really get us moving in the right direction. Now is the time “… to act in earnest.”

Lyn Shaw, Middletown, CT

“We have only our bodies to give.

After politely written letters; passionate protests in our home states; nonviolent arrests following discernment; walks across the country; endless Congressional lobbying; hundreds of phone calls made and petitions sent to those who represent us politically- including the President; and dutiful testimony written/spoken at a scoping hearings in our home states…

We have now only our bodies to give- our small places in time and legacies.

I will be at a part of the fast, joining with dear friends on behalf of many who cannot themselves sit in front of the Great Enabler, FERC. As the country and the world move into what could be the last days, I will take a stand in the only way left to me.”

Peter Nightingale, Kingston, RI

PeterNightingle “Thinking of future generations, and my grandchildren in particular, I do not know how to explain the destruction we continue to visit upon the Earth they shall inherit.

The Clean Air, Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts have been captured by industry, and FERC, implementing twisted statutes, is the excuse the ruling elites use to continue the devastation.

Unless we undo environmental racism, stop imperial war, and end capitalism itself, we shall fail; only global peace, social justice and defense of the environment shall heal Mother Earth and her children.”

Linda Torrel, Oregon

20140908_155042 (443 x 388)“I am fasting because I feel a moral imperative to do something about climate change.

The US seems to be much slower then the rest of the world to acknowledge the problem of climate change, but it is very much happening now whether we want to admit it or not.

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 150,000 people die prematurely each year because of factors directly related to the climate crisis, and this is expected to increase over time . Extreme heat, weather-related disasters, infectious diseases, lack of access to clean water and crop failure due to the climate crisis cause increased suffering and death.

At the heart of the matter to help avert climate related catastrophic disaster I call on FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).

FERC, which according to its website is “an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.”

The problem with FERC is that it is solely funded by imposing annual charges and fees on the industries it regulates. It is completely dependant on the oil and gas industries for its funding, the very industries the FERC is supposed to regulate!

Even worse FERC is actually required by Section 7 of the 1938 Natural Gas Act to allow developers to build and operate gas pipelines if they comply with the law and agency regulations and stipulations.

FERC has been called a “Rogue Agency”, and has been criticized for permiting projects illegally. FERC has been found guilty in the Federal Courts violating the National Environmental Policy Act.

So it seems we have actually no truly regulating body over the approval of fracking, pipelines, LNG terminals and other gas infrastructure.

We must hold accountable those who are causing the climate crisis.

I call on FERC to be either disbanded or radically restructured. At this time in our history we need a safe, efficient and sustainable energy. We must prioritize the emergence of wind, solar and other renewables above fossil fuels. FERC is actually causing us to go very much in the opposite direction.

FERC if it is to be of use, needs to define the public interest not by what makes the energy market more profitable but by what creates a reliable energy supply without hurting communities and threatening a livable future. FERC can be a leader in transitioning to the necessary sustainable energy economy.

We need to stop all new permits for fossil fuels. Fossil fuels must now be left in the ground if the world’s nations are to meet crucial—and non-negotiable—climate goals. We need to stop all the exportation of our natural gas and oil and keep what we have for domestic use. We fight wars for this stuff! It makes absolutely no sense that we should be exporting it!

In addition we need to put an end to the use of nuclear power. Nuclear power is not a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels. Nuclear power has proven itself to be neither a clean nor a renewable energy. It comes with at a great cost to all. We need to quickly put all of our efforts to widely develop and widely use renewable energy. This can be done!

I am  fasting in support of the Popes encyclical “Laudato Si,” and its call to action for an urgent phasing out of fossil fuels. A change in our consumerist ways.

The Pope says climate action is a moral imperative, a humanitarian and spiritual cause, a shared responsibility for all peoples. He tied climate action to the Christian mandate to aid the afflicted and give comfort to the needy. He said the poor are the ones that will and are hurting the most from climate change. The Pope said that the care for the things of the earth is necessarily bound together with our care of one another, especially the poor. This interdependency extends from the deep respect due every human person to all living beings and to the earth where we make our home.

I believe the stopping of any new permits for fossil fuels would be a very important and extremely large contribution to reduce climate change and make our world a cleaner and safer home. We need to do this not only for our own future but for future generations. We need to give future generations a chance to have a future! Now is the time to take action!”

Mark Dorazio, Hopkinsville, KY

Creekwater-closeup
“I plan to FAST, in DC, in September, to honor TERRY GREENWOOD …..
DOMINION RESOURCES  DESTROY’D  TERRY GREENWOOD’s western-Pennsylvania FARM.”

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Jane Kendall, New York, NY

FullSizeRender

There’s a hidden sweetness
in the stomach’s emptiness.

We are lutes, no more, no less.
If the sound box is stuffed
full of anything, no music.

If the brain and the belly
are burning clean with fasting,
every moment a new song
comes out of the fire.

The fog clears, and a new
energy makes you run up the
steps in front of you.

Be emptier and cry like
reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with
the reed pen.

When you’re full of food and drink,
Satan sits where your
spirit should, an ugly metal
statue in place of the Kaaba.

When you fast, good habits gather
like friends who want to help.

Fasting is Solomon’s ring.
Don’t give it to some illusion
and lose your power.

But even if you’ve lost all
will and control, they come
back when you fast,
like soldiers appearing out
of the ground, pennants
flying above them.

A table descends to your
tent, Jesus’s table.
Expect to see it, when you
fast, this table spread with
other food better than the
broth of cabbages.

Rumi

Kendall Hale, Fairview, NC

“Two years ago I helped organize the 2013 Walk For Our Grandchildren: Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground, to stop the KXL Pipeline. We walked 95 miles from Camp David to a ‘lock down’ civil disobedience action at the Environmental mail.google.comResource Management Corporation in DC. Then, I was acting on behalf of my husband’s grandchildren and future generations. This summer my granddaughter was born as Pope Francis delivered his stunning Encyclical: Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home, strengthening and inspiring me to fast during the week he speaks to Congress on the dangers of inequality and climate change. I have never dared to deny myself food for a social justice cause, as I don’t carry many ‘extra pounds’. So I will choose to fast for three days at FERC demanding No New Permits for fracked gas or infrastructure, and for the salvation of planet earth and her children.”

Ted Glick, Bloomfield, NJ

“Fasts and hunger strikes are usually undertaken when things are serious, when those with the power to right a wrong have consistently refused to do so despite repeated protests. That is our situation with FERC, an agency that has a revolving-door relationship with the gas and fossil mail.google.comfuel industry. It has proven itself over the last year to be a corrupt and complicit agency. I will be fasting to appeal to FERC employees, to members of Congress, to court judges and to the American people to take action to stop FERC’s rubber stamping of fracked gas infrastructure proposals. I will draw strength to fast from the statements being made and the upcoming visit to the United States in late September of Pope Francis, hoping that he will learn about our action and use his power to support our call for No New Permits for fracked gas infrastructure and a ban on fracking worldwide.”

Steve Norris, Fairview, NC

“The first time I fasted was a one-day fast in the early seventies to protest the Vietnam War and to reflect on the horrific damage the war was imposing on the people of Steve photo 1_20_15Vietnam and the people of the United States. I do not remember details, except that it was sponsored by a national anti-war group and that I did it at home alone in Middletown, Connecticut. I do not remember talking to anyone about it, but I was deeply moved in some indefinable way. Taking this step, denying myself food for a day, somehow made the horrific realities of the war more real and more immediate for me. Some people say that to truly understand something you can’t simply use your mind. Your heart must also be engaged. I think this simple one day fast engaged my heart in what has since become a life-long passion for justice, peace, and equality. I assume a multi-week fast at FERC now, more than 40 years after that first fast, will open my heart more and strengthen my resolve to become a nonviolent, compassionate warrior for justice.

Glen D. Brown, Salt Lake City, UT

Glen D Brown, SLC UT

I’m fasting for the first three days and the last five days on water and tea. My primary motivation is to show solidarity with the hunger strikers at the FERC and around the country. Leasing public lands and offshore waters for extreme energy extraction is insane. Fracked natural gas is set to be the final nail in our global warming coffin. Direct action of this sort is our best hope to call attention to and end our addiction to fossil fuels.
Steve photo 1_20_15
Greg Yost, Mars Hill, NC

“It’s been a year since we started pushing FERC to acknowledge the cumulative climate impact of their 301_9380-1decisions and the fundamental unfairness of them helping gas companies run over people. It breaks my heart to consider the range of their responses so far:  condescension, amusement, exasperation, evasion, and denial. I’ll be joining the Fast For No New Permits to bring FERC in touch with reality. In a climate crisis, no one gets to hide behind the excuse that they are just technocrats doing a job. Everyone bears equal responsibility for helping our society to transition, to prepare, and above all, to stop digging the hole ever deeper.”