Press Release

Press Release
For Immediate Release: November 18, 2013
Contact: Daniel Jubelirer 919-619-5795

Dozens of Students from Tufts, Brandeis, and other college students fasting for climate action

WHAT: Week long voluntary fast with numerous visibility events throughout the week
WHERE: Tufts and Brandeis campus, Harvard Square
WHEN: Monday-Friday, Nov. 18-22

In the wake of typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on Friday, November 8th, students at Tufts University, Brandeis, and at other institutions throughout Massachusetts and the United States, are organizing a unified fast in solidarity with Minister of Climate to the Philippines Nadarev Saño, currently fasting at the COP 19 conference in Poland, and with those individuals in the Philippines who are suffering because of this devastating storm.

This fast will coincide with Naderev (Yeb) Saño’s call to “stop the madness” of climate change. As Saño fasts to highlight the urgent need for meaningful action to combat climate change, we fast to call the United States government to action. We refuse to let the world’s most vulnerable populations be sacrificed as a consequence of our complacency, and put at risk millions of lives from climate change related storms.

To recognize and reflect on the tragedy in the Philippines, dozens of Tufts and Brandeis students will fast throughout the week, and we invite the entire community to sit with empty plates at lunch on Monday, symbolizing and recognizing the role we play in climate related disasters. Additionally, a candle-light vigil will be held in remembrance for all those who have died in Typhoon Haiyan in Harvard Square on Monday, Nov. 22. We hope to gain publicity and raise awareness about this climate-related tragedy, while calling policy makers to action.

Specifically, students demand the U.S. take three immediate steps to lead on climate change. First, President Obama must deny the Keystone XL pipeline’s permit. Second, the E.P.A. must issue aggressive emissions regulations for existing-source power plants. Third, students stand with Yeb Saño in asking the U.S. to lead wealthy nations in making a substantive commitment to the Green Climate Fund.

2020 is too late for climate action. 2015 is too late. The United States delegation to COP19 has the power to, in Mr. Saño’s words, “prevent a future where super typhoons are a way of life.” These words must be headed by the leaders of the United States, a nation with immense diplomatic strength and potential. Our political and moral failures have translated directly into destruction and human death abroad and on our own shores: the flooded, cities of Tacloban and New Orleans, the drought-stricken Sahel and Southwest U.S. states, and too many more. This must stop.

“I feel compelled to support Minister Saño, I feel the need to give of myself to raise awareness to this crisis. It is shocking to me that this crisis has gotten so little attention, that the connection has not been explicitly linked to climate change. It pains me to see the destruction in the Philippines, and disturbs me deeply to witness the inaction of our government at the COP conferences” said Tufts student Ben Weilerstein, who will be fasting for 5 days.

Students published an open letter to Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and State Department negotiator Trigg Talley, explaining why they are fasting this week. It says, “Typhoon Haiyan was not a natural disaster. It was a direct result of a climate changed by the industrialized world’s decisions to value profit over people’s lives. Superstorms like Haiyan will only become more common if we continue to recklessly burn fossil fuels.” It can be read in full at stopthemadnessfast.wordpress.com.

Over 1000 people are attending a national Facebook event calling for a fast, and over 25 students at Tufts and Brandeis are fasting this week.

A public vigil in Harvard Square will be held from 5-7PM on Monday, November 18th to raise awareness about the fast and climate action.

Students are also calling on their peers and families to donate to support immediate emergency relief efforts. While the fast calls attention to the COP conference, there are people suffering now who need immediate relief. A list of organizations to donate to can be found here: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/513921/55feb49310/1583503680/a56f41e556/

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