A group of activists are giving up eating, some for as long as two weeks, in the hope that Gov. Murphy will stop fossil fuel development.
They’re giving up food and they want Gov. Phil Murphy to notice.
A coalition of environmental groups gathered outside of the State House on Thursday to announce the start of Climate Fast NJ, a two-week-long protest fast aimed at pressuring Murphy to take more immediate action on climate change.
The press conference was capped off with coalition members walking to Murphy’s office to hand-deliver their demands.
Their specific goals are lofty: Climate Fast NJ is calling for Murphy to back a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure projects like power plants and pipelines.
Murphy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The impetus for Climate Fast NJ, according to organizers, was the release of a dire new report from the International Panel of Climate Change.
“The climate crisis is the defining moral and economic issue of our time, and every new piece of dirty energy infrastructure makes this crisis worse,” said Matt Smith, a senior organizer for the activist group Food & Water Watch. “Governor Murphy has made some early moves on clean energy, but they will get us nowhere if he approves the fossil fuel projects driving us towards catastrophe.”
About 30 people have committed to the fast, though to varying degrees. Only two, Bloomfield activist Ted Glick and a member of the Ramapough Lenape Nation named Owl, will go on water only for the full 14 days.
“Fasting to call for change is not something ordinarily done. It’s done when a situation is urgent,” Glick said. “That is without question our situation today when it comes to climate change and health and safety risks from fossil fuel infrastructure.”
Glick has a history of fasting for social justice causes.
In December 2007, Glick embarked on an open-ended fast after being frustrated by a lack of Congressional action to address climate change. Glick went with just water for 25 days before transitioning to a liquid diet; the total fast lasted 107 days.
His last fast was in 2015, when he went without food for 18 days to protest the infrastructure approval processes of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The influential power of fasting in protest is real, at least if you ask Glick. He says that the fasts hold a sort of moral sway over people in power.
“It kind of works on people, from my experience,” Glick said.
Glick is also the coordinator of Roseland Against The Compressor Station.
Glick’s group is just one of the coalition making up Climate Fast NJ. Other organizations include Food & Water Watch, Greenfaith, the Ramapough Lenape Nation, ClimateMama, Waterspirit, the New Jersey Industrial Union Council, 350NJ-Rockland and the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains.
A variety of energy infrastructure proposals across the Garden State would be put on hold under the environmentalist’s desired moratorium.
The major proposals include the PennEast Pipeline, a proposed $1 billion natural gas pipeline that would run 120 miles from Pennsylvania to Mercer County, and North Bergen Liberty Generating, a proposed natural gas power plant in Hudson County that would send electricity to New York City.
Read the letter delivered to Gov. Phil Murphy’s office by Climate Fast NJ activists below:
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