Starting on November 7th, a group of us in New Jersey are going to be fasting for between one and 14 days as part of #ClimateFastNJ. I’m one of the 14 days people; I’ll be consuming only water, as well as salt, potassium and vitamin C.
The goal of the fast is to get Governor Phil Murphy to declare a moratorium on any new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state. No new oil and gas pipelines; no new or expanded gas compressor stations; no new gas-fired power plants. There are currently 11 such proposed projects being considered by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
This demand for a statewide moratorium has emerged strongly from the grassroots over the last several months, as the various groups individually fighting these different projects have come to realize the need to respond to this assault in a coordinated and unified way.
The fast officially kicks off with a press conference at 12 noon this Wednesday the 7th in front of the State House on West State St. in Trenton. Following that event, we will all proceed down the block to the Governor’s office building where we will deliver a letter to him and ask for a meeting.
Every work day between the 7th and the 21st a group of us will be in front of the State House or the Governor’s office building. At noon on each of those days we are encouraging people who support what we are doing to join with us in a circle of solidarity. Some days musicians, poets and drummers will join us. We hope that these noon-time circles will grow over the course of the two weeks we will be there.
The last time I took part in a long fast like this was over three years ago. That one was conducted by about 15 people outside the offices of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We fasted for 18 days, ending it at the time that the Pope arrived in DC as part of his visit to the United States in 2015.
I’ve come to appreciate the power of fasting. For those who hear about a fast like this, it’s hard to totally dismiss it. There’s something about people being willing to voluntarily suffer for something they believe in that has an impact.
Gandhi once said, “fasting is the sincerest form of prayer.” Past fasts have actually brought me to appreciate and understand these words.
Not everyone fasting is motivated by religious or spiritual beliefs. But we all fervently hope for and are taking action to help the governor of New Jersey see that it is unconscionable, not to mention impossible, for him to have a goal of fighting climate change and achieving 100% renewable energy in the state within 32 years (which he does) at the same time that he allows the dramatic expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, which could last for 40 or more years. This is a contradiction that cannot be accepted.
If you’re in or near New Jersey, join us! To learn more or to sign up, go to https://climatefastnj.com.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. Past writings and other information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.