Breaking: From November 7th to November 21st, a water-only fast opposing any and all new fossil fuel infrastructure in New Jersey will be undertaken in Trenton and elsewhere around the state. People around the country have also committed to fast, to show solidarity with the NJ Climate Fast. For some participants, the fast will last for as long as two weeks. The fast will be conducted primarily on the sidewalks outside of Governor Murphy’s office.
What we are fasting for: Governor Murphy of New Jersey will announce that the State of New Jersey is declaring A MORATORIUM on all new fossil fuel infrastructure. This will ensure that: no new oil or gas pipelines will be built in the State; no new gas compressor stations will be built and no expansion of existing ones will occur; no new gas-fired power plants will be built; etc. Nothing which deepens the climate crisis will be constructed in the State.
One of the first questions people ask me upon hearing about this fast is: “Why New Jersey?” Isn’t Governor Murphy “all in” on climate action? Well the answers are both yes, and no. Governor Murphy’s initial steps upon taking office in January 2018 were to respond to the seriousness and the urgency of the climate crisis by publicly reminding New Jerseyans of the need for climate action and by taking positive steps forward, including a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2050. Clearly, those of us across the state are heartened to know that New Jersey now has a leader who understands the climate chaos that could envelop us and what needs to be done to give us and our children more time to prevent the worst case scenarios that might unfold.
Yet, at this moment in time we count 11 proposed fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the State, waiting on permits to begin. New Jersey, under the leadership of the Governor has the authority to stop these projects from moving forward. These projects make achieving 100% renewable energy for New Jersey, by 2050, virtually impossible. We know that the switch can’t be turned off from fossil fuels and on to 100% renewables overnight. But we also know that we need to move further and faster then we ever have, and that we need to lead, not follow. When we meet our energy needs, it must be with renewables and energy efficiency. As a state without easily accessible fossil fuel reserves, New Jersey can be a leader by taking a stand against any further build out of fossil fuel infrastructure. New Jersey can show our country and our world that there is another way; we can put fossil fuels behind us.
We have shared information with our Climate Mamas and Papas about the October 2018 Special Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that highlights the urgent need for actions to sharply reduce fossil fuel use. According to my colleague, climate scientist Katherin Hayhoe of Texas Tech university, The Special Report is like getting a troubling diagnosis from your doctor, “Every possible test has been done and the news is not good,” Hayhoe said in an interview. “The doctor, the IPCC in this case, then explains possible treatment options to ensure our future health. WE (the public) decide which option to follow.” Without the support of WE (the elected) WE the public can’t move forward on our own. Those that we have elected to represent us need to hear loudly from all of us that we have their backs and that we want and demand that they go farther and faster then they have gone so far, or that others before them have gone. We can and we must. Our planet is telling us we are out of time. Our children are counting on us, their future and now in our hands. We want our elected leaders to follow our Climate Mama motto: “Tell the truth, actions speak louder than words, don’t be afraid.” We can’t just “talk the talk” we all must “walk the walk” and quickly.
Many of us taking part in this fast, for one to 14
days, are already involved in efforts to prevent the building of one or more proposed fossil fuel projects in New Jersey. We are undertaking this action together to make clear that in a world rapidly heating and disrupted by climate change, that we need strong leaders in the fight against climate change. We support the Governor and want to help him move forward on climate action faster and further then he might otherwise go, without our support. We need strong leaders across the country and around the world that are for clean, job-creating renewable energy and energy efficiency. We need strong leaders who will stand for environmental justice communities, for clean air, water, and sustainable food choices and the right to a livable future. How we harness our energy and the impacts of our climate crisis are clearly social justice issues. By undertaking this fast, and raising attention for the need for a moratorium on the build out of fossil fuel infrastructure we are calling on these leaders to “walk the talk,” consistently and right now.
I have been working full time on climate education, advocacy and solutions since 2009 and it has been part of my work in a broad sense for more then 25 years. The good news is that more people, more organizations and more companies understand the realities of what’s happening and what’s at stake. The bad news is our planet is so much sicker then she was 25 years ago, and she is showing us, in no uncertain terms she is mad, and not going to take our abuse much longer.
Join us. Sign up here to be part of our fast. You don’t need to live in New Jersey to support us. Friends from Cape Cod and North Carolina have already signed up to join us from their hometowns. Learn more here on the ClimateFastNJ website.
We will be reporting regularly on our blog about the fast, the people involved, and the response from our elected officials, including the Governor. Join us if you can in person in Trenton, or from wherever you are around the state and around the world. Let us know you are joining us, so we can support you too. The Climate Fast NJ website will contain a calendar where you can find out more about each day’s activities.