“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6
As of today, we at Beloved Planet are joining a fast, declared by the Philippines’ delegate to the global climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. We will be fasting on behalf of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, dedicating ourselves to prayerful witness to the suffering of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. We join our voices with those demanding that the major powers of the world enact meaningful climate policies.
We are also standing with other faith communities who have joined the fast, including the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network and the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate.
And we are encouraging our readers to prayerfully consider fasting with us, and to add their names to the growing list of signatories of the Eco-Justice Network’s commitment to fasting and prayerful witness during the balance of the Warsaw summit, which concludes on November 22.
As delegates from around the world arrived in Poland on November 9 for the international climate negotiations, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippine island of Leyte, with 195 mph winds, gusting to an unimaginable 235 mph. Now called the world’s strongest tropical cyclone to make a landfall on record, Haiyan was the thirtieth named storm in the Pacific this year, and the second extreme weather event to devastate the Philippines in one year. The death toll currently stands at 3,600, but estimates of the uncounted dead run much, much higher.
In Warsaw the following day, Filipino climate conference delegate Nadarev (Yeb) Sano, made an impassioned plea to delegates representing the world’s people to take real climate action to protect his country, which is extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels and increased storm activity associated with global climate change. Mr. Sano has begun a fast for the duration of the conference to call for real action on climate change.
The plight of the Philippines stands as grisly witness to the injustice of climate policies around the world – and most notably in the United States. On average, each American emits more global-warming gases than 22 Filipinos. And yet, as seriously as climate disruption is affecting the U.S., we are far less vulnerable to today’s extreme weather than our Filipino counterparts. Indeed, the ten most climate-vulnerable countries in the world emit on average less than one twentieth the greenhouse gases per capita than their American counterparts. And they are also approximately twenty times poorer.
Small wonder, then, that delegate Sano has begun to fast – perhaps a desperate measure to attract attention to the delay and inaction of the rest of the world.
Whatever his motivation, we are joining with him. Perhaps you would consider joining us? If you’re not used to fasting, then you have a range of options – eat only one meal per day, fast for a shorter period, limit your diet to simple foods like bread and water, or whatever you settle on.
And to signal your solidarity, visit the Eco-Justice website and sign up for the fast. But don’t stop there! There are others who will surely come along once you do. So pass the word!
Last of all, if you’re like me, you probably need a reminder to pray, and to give generously. Once you’ve skipped a meal or two, this reminder comes along about every 15 minutes! And once you’ve prayed, consider giving generously to relief for the people of the Philippines. You can do so by clicking here.
Thanks for caring about your suffering brothers and sisters, and may God bless you.