Climate Justice: Fast for Our Children

Last week, my friend Alec Connon from 350Seattle asked me if I would stop eating for three days. I said yes... Here’s why. 

In 2015, eight courageous kids won a historic case in which the Department of Ecology was ordered to come up with a Clean Air Rule that supports their constitutional right to clean air and a healthy environment. If that rule were based on climate science or the threat posed to our children by air pollution, the rule would need to mandate annual greenhouse gas reductions between 6% and 8% per year. The Clean Air Rule that Ecology has come up with only mandates a 1.7% annual reduction, and because of the way that the rule is written, actual greenhouse gas reductions will likely be even less. (More info here.)

The Washington State Dept. of Ecology is having a hearing and allowing public testimony on their draft of the Clean Air Rule this Thursday in Olympia. As far as I’m concerned, this rule is one of the most important steps that our government can take to ensure clean air and a livable planet for Washington’s children. And yet, most people aren't even aware of this issue.

We need to change that.

At 9am on the 12th of July, I joined over a dozen parents and grandparents and begin a hunger fast on the Capitol steps in Olympia.

 Fast on the Capitol steps

The fast will continue until the public testimony at 6PM on Thursday, July 14th at the Red Lion Hotel (2300 Evergreen Park Dr. SW Olympia, WA 98502).

I am doing this because I feel compelled to act and support the hopeful, beautiful work that is being done by the children who are defendants in the lawsuit and who are speaking not just for themselves, but for my daughters and for all the children of Washington State.

Please support a Clean Air Rule that mandates meaningful, measurable action. You can do this by informing others about this issue and by providing written comments to the Department of Ecology demanding a rule that is based on science. If you are willing and able, you could also consider participating in a one day fast to show solidarity with the parents in Olympia (and if you do so, please inform others of your decision on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or by providing testimony about why we need a science-based clean air rule, online or in person at the hearing. 

When I was pregnant with my older daughter, I read this quote from Elizabeth Stone, "Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” When my daughters were babies, I made sure to find a safe car seat with a secure harness; when they learned to crawl, I installed a safety gate at the top of the stairs; when they were toddlers I found hats for the beach and carefully applied sunscreen; when they learned to ride a bike, I made sure they wore their helmets. We do these things as parents because we want to protect our children. 

At a time when so much in the world seems broken and when violence between people and violence towards our natural world seems to be the norm, I worry that I will not be able to do so. Protecting my children - protecting our children - will require a change in the way that we treat each other and in the way that we treat our earth. 

Please join me in raising people's awareness about the children's lawsuit and the Clean Air Rule and please take steps to protect the children that you love.

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Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice - Washington
We empower Unitarian Universalists to give voice to our values in the political arena.