The biggest story within the climate movement this week is that a group of 5 young activists went on hunger strike in front of the White House this week. As members of the Sunrise Movement, the strikers are demanding that President Biden take stronger action on climate, including not conceding to Joe Manchin’s demands that the climate package be cut out of the much-discussed budget bill. The strike began this past Wednesday, October 20th and will go on “until the demands are met, until I’m absolutely physically unable to,” according to one of the strikers as reported by The Guardian in this article.
Hunger strikes are a tactic that have been employed many times throughout history to protest the actions of a government, but I believe this is one of the first times we are seeing it with this type of visibility within the US climate movement. It is a tragedy that it has come to teenagers and young adults putting their lives on the line in such a stark manner in order to try and get some climate legislation passed. We’ll be keeping the #HungerStrikeForClimate crew in our thoughts.
Yet it is also important to remember that we are all putting our lives on the line when people in power refuse to take action on climate, albeit in a less direct manner. By going on hunger strike, these young activists are making the life-and-death nature of the threat of climate change both visible and immediate. Unlike the drudgeries of politics and bureaucracy, the spectacle of a hunger strike is a manifestation of the harms of climate change we can not turn away from.
→ Check out how to take action in solidarity with the strikers with a toolkit put together by the Sunrise Movement
Other ways to take action this week:
- Fossil Free Future Day of Action on 10/29/21
- Talk about climate change with other people! According to Katherine Hayhoe, it’s one of the best actions each of us as individuals can take (read more here). And even better, there’s a virtual environmental advocacy training happening on Thursday 10/28/21.
- Get ready for COP26 happening soon!