Skip to main content

Fasting for the Climate

Fasting for the climate is becoming a growing movement after the Philippines’ chief climate negotiator, Yeb Saño, stopped eating during the COP19 climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. Civil society, led by youth and faith groups, joined in a voluntary fast in solidarity with Saño and all those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Saño’s speech at the opening of the talks brought many to tears. After Saño proclaimed, “I dare you to get off your ivory tower” and act on climate change, he garnered support from those at the negotiations in Poland. Now, as news of Saño’s symbolic fast spreads across the globe, more and more individuals are expressing their support for Saño’s plea for action on climate.

Key Points

  • Yeb Saño’s speech at the opening of the COP19 climate meetings is getting worldwide traction. Media coverage of Saño’s speech and fast is appearing in all continents. The hashtag #FastingForTheClimate continues to gain traction.

  • Youth and faith groups are joining the Fasting for the Climate movement in solidarity with Saño and the people of the Philippines. As of Tuesday night, a growing number of activists, environmentalists and members of civil society inside and outside of Poland have joined Saño in an effort to demand that the negotiators make real progress in addressing climate change.

  • The devastating typhoon in the Philippines, combined with a recent barrage of evidence linking rising emissions to costly destruction, should make the case for taking action on climate change crystal clear to the negotiators in Poland. Sea surface temperatures that were 2ºC above normal in the south Pacific region strengthen typhoons by increasing the available energy and water vapor in the area. This reality, combined with overwhelming evidence from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change saying climate change is real and dangerous if unaddressed, should be motivation enough for the negotiators in Poland to take meaningful action for addressing climate change.

Yeb Saño's Avaaz petition

This is Saño's explanation of why he has started this petition:

Last weekend’s Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in my family’s hometown. The devastation is so staggering, that I’m struggling to find words to describe how I feel about the losses and damages we have suffered from this.

I spent two days agonizing over the fate of my relatives. But when I finally reached my brother, it filled me with renewed strength and great relief. He survived the onslaught, and for the last few days, he has been helping gather dead bodies. He is hungry and weary as food supplies find it difficult to arrive in the hardest hit areas.

But beyond the colossal humanitarian challenge ahead, we must take the courage to face the truth: the superstorm was not just another natural disaster -- it was made stronger and more deadly by human-caused climate change. For too long, those countries with the greatest capacity to act and greatest responsibility for the problem have shirked their obligations to cut pollution as the science demands. That has locked-in climate change, and could lock-in even worse impacts to come.

So I’ve taken a rare step as a public servant -- I’ve gone beyond the usual conventions to start an Avaaz petition. I’m appealing to Avaaz members to stand in solidarity with the people of the Philippines and all victims of climate change worldwide. Together our voices can push the governments meeting at the UN climate summit happening now to ratchet up pollution controls and help poorer communities with funding.

The question that will determine our survival is: can humanity rise to the occasion? I still believe we can. Sign the petition today, and forward it to everyone, and I will deliver it personally at the talks.

Yeb Saño, Climate Commissioner for the Philippines and the government’s lead negotiator at the the Warsaw climate talks

Please sign the petition:…