on 11th November 2013

Why we’re fasting in solidarity

A message from the CARE International delegation in Warsaw

On the opening day of the UN climate conference in Warsaw, the head of the Philippines’ delegation, Yeb Sano, cracking with emotion at the tragedy being unleashed by Typhoon Haiyan on his country and his home town, announced that he would fast until the world made a meaningful commitment to combatting climate change. In the following hours and days, activists from around the world joined the fast in solidarity with his bold stand.

The CARE delegation at the climate talks has also joined this fast. While one arm of our organisation is responding to the consequences of the typhoon we are the other arm addressing one of its causes – climate change.  So our solidarity is with both the global movement on climate change and also with our fellow colleagues in CARE’s emergency response teams.

We are here in Warsaw to influence the UN climate change negotiations, and we have a job to do. So we’re taking it in turns, since the middle of last week, with one of us fasting each day for 24 hours before passing the baton on to the next person. That way we maintain the collective fast without affecting our capacity to work effectively. While fasting might mean something different for each one of us – a spiritual exercise, a personal journey, or a protest statement – the act of solidarity is holding us together. You could describe fasting as ‘doing without’ – we prefer to think of it as ‘doing with’.

In the words of Hetty Bower, the veteran peace campaigner who sadly passed away a few days ago, “we may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose.” Climate change is getting worse, and the world is doing hardly anything about it. We have to take a stand. So, with hundreds of others, both here in Poland and around the world, we are determined to fast in solidarity until the end of the climate talks.


The CARE delegation in Warsaw, Poland



End the madness of climate change inaction, a blog by CARE’s Aarjan Dixit 


CARE Ramps up Aid to Remote Areas Devastated by Typhoon Haiyan




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