On around day 40 of CJF, as I was lying half awake in our tent, the words of a speech started appearing in my mind. I grabbed a pen and scribbled a few of them down, then later worked on them a little more until they became the following message, which I sent out to all the people around the world who fasted with us on December 18, 2009.
Greetings. My name is Paul Connor. And today, alongside my good friends Anna Keenan, who is like me an Australian, and Sara Svensson, from Sweden, I am now on day 42 of a fast for climate justice. Today though, we are far from alone. Today, over 3000 people, from all over the world, have joined us in fasting for this same cause.
To those of you who have joined the fast, I want to say that it is a blessing to be fasting with you, as we come together, today, unified by our love for this planet, its people, and its animals, and by our deep and shared concern over its future.
My friends, today, as we fast alongside each other, I know that many of us are angered, saddened, and disillusioned with what we have witnessed over the past two weeks in Copenhagen. But I want to say to you all that whatever has taken place over there- we must not despair, because hope is alive.
I want to say to you that no matter how much we may have to fear, there has never been a more exciting time to be alive than now. It is a scary time, granted- but an incredibly exciting one nonetheless.
Today, with all of human history behind us, and a new millennium stretched out ahead, we stand at a moment in time when a completely new civilization is being born upon planet Earth- a civilization utterly unlike any that has ever come before it. And we stand, here, today, right now, at its dawn.
But so far, this ‘new civilization’, well, it doesn’t really have a name. Well, not a sexy name, anyway. I mean, the words ‘ecological sustainability’- E-CO-LO-GI-CAL SUS-TAI-NA-BI-LI-TY…-now, that’s five syllables followed by six- lets face it, they don’t quite roll off the tongue. We’ll come up with something more catchy, eventually, I’m sure.
But ecological sustainability. Those two words represent something incredible. Because for the human race- those two words are a revolution.
They are a revolution in the way we think, a revolution in the way we live, a revolution in the way we interact as different individuals, different nations, different generations, and as different species. Those two words change everything. And their revolution is upon is.
But lets be very clear. This is not a revolution that will be fought with tanks and guns-that is certain. No. Instead, this revolution will be fought and won using the single most powerful weapon that has ever existed.
The truth. The simple, basic, obvious truth. This is all that we will ever need.
Because the truth from which this revolution will come is one so clear, and so powerful, that once it has been seen, and understood, it is impossible to deny, and it is impossible to forget.
This truth, our truth, is that ecological sustainability is an absolute, unequivocal, and non-negotiable necessity- And that anything other than ecological sustainability is unacceptable, and a crime.
All of you fasting today know this truth, because you have seen it for yourselves. You saw it, and from then, there was no turning back. In fact, I feel certain that it is the reason you are fasting today. And it will be a part of you forever. That is how powerful it is. It has changed all of us permanently. And just as it has changed us, so too will it change this entire world.
Because as much as we often feel despair at the pace of change displayed by our societies and our leaders, no one can deny that this truth is sweeping the globe. And no one can deny that the more it spreads, the more ability it gains to spread even more, as everyone it reaches becomes yet another voice, speaking it to the world.
This is what makes climate change, and the Copenhagen conference, and this moment i history- so incredible. Because climate change is the flashpoint. It is the messenger. It is the spark. Climate change is happening. It is huge, it is real, and it is now. And all over the world, in governments, in universities, in schools, in homes, in cafes, in churches, and in bars, it is being discussed. And in all those places, it is making humanity, for the very first time, truly look at itself, and what it is doing to its planet.
Climate change is holding up a mirror to our entire species, and bringing almost everything wrong with our current system into the starkest view. Over-consumption. Gross inequality. Racism. Corporate corruption of democracy. And the insanity of an economic system that is completely reliant on the pipe dream of endless growth.
Climate change is bringing all of these things into the light, into people’s lives, and into all those homes, schools, and churches. And wherever this happens, the truth of sustainability is never far behind.
And this will keep happening. Because climate change will keep happening. The world will continue to warm. Seas will rise. Glaciers will melt. Crops will fail. We know this. Yet simultaneously, the truth of ecological sustainability and environmental justice will be spreading, and changing the world forever, just as it has changed all of us forever.
So yes, there is hope. Enormous hope. But while there is hope, there is also no time to lose, and no time to waste. Climate change may be a powerful means of spreading the truth of ecological sustainability, but it is also a ticking clock. And the innocent lives it is already taking are telling us that a revolution is not needed in five years, or two years, but NOW. And the longer this revolution takes, the higher the cost will be. Take too long, and this cost will be incalculable.
So our task is urgent, and monumental. We have to bring about this change as fast as we possibly can. We have to continue shining the light of our truth into every city, every street, and every home until it is heard. And when people are not ready, or when they do not want to listen, we must have faith in the power of this truth, and just keep going.
It will not be easy. No human struggle has ever been easy. Creating real change in human society is the hardest thing one can possibly attempt. History shows us this. Social movements demand real sacrifice from us.
But history also shows that when you armed with the truth, and you care enough, and you are ready for those sacrifices, you can win.
And so, my friends, as we fast together on this day, unified by our love for this planet, its people, and its animals, and by our deep and shared concern over its future, I want to say thank you for your effort, and express my love for, and solidarity with every one of you.
And I want to say that yes, it’s an exciting time to be alive.
Long live the revolution.