11 November, 2009

Here's Sara Svensson's speech from the press conference in Barcelona:

My name is Sara Svensson, and I'm from Sweden. Tomorrow is my 25th birthday,
but I won't be eating birthday cake this year.

I’ve been involved in different kinds of climate activism for most of my
life. I studied International Project Management for Social Movements and
NGOs, combined with environmental science. *
I have committed to participate in Climate Justice Fast, an international
hunger strike for climate justice. From today and until we meet again in
Copenhagen, I will be eating nothing and drinking only water.

The end date of the fast is still open. When I break the fast depends on
what happens in the climate negotiations and in the world. The only thing I
can guarantee is that I will end the fast if our demands are met.

Climate change is the defining issue for my generation. Previous generations
did not understand the problem, and for future generations it will be too
late to do something about it. It is up to us.

I'm undertaking this fast out of love. Love for life, for our beautiful
planet with all its species and future generations. There's nothing more
important I can do in my life than to contribute in the strongest possible
way, with full devotion, to set an end to climate change and injustice and
be part of the movement that will lead us to a sustainable future.

I'm showing how much I care. How much I'm willing to risk, how much I'm
prepared to offer. How deeply devoted I am to this cause. I hope that it
will inspire others and help the necessary shift to happen.

I love life and health, but I'm willing to risk it to secure the survival of
others. Food is good, chewing is fun and I will miss jumping around full of
energy. It will not be easy to abstain from something as essential as food.

Still, my personal sacrifice is nothing compared to the suffering of the
hundreds of thousands of people who already die from climate change each
year, and the many millions of people who would be suffering in the years to
come if we would fail to solve climate change. Voluntarily abstaining from
food is not easy, but it's possible. Solving climate change is also not an
easy task, but it's possible, and we will.

This is the right thing to do at the right time. Turn to essentials, turn to
emotions. The pure, the true, the real. Touch hearts. Push the limits, move
on to the next level.

I will enjoy this peaceful time to reflect while others are busy. We will
focus on the big picture while COP15 gets lost and stuck in a thousand

Now is the time to mobilise the movement for change.

We call on all people to get involved in the climate movement. We know the
science. Educate yourself. Think about what's most important? Change your
mindset. Your goal in life can't be a comfortable life where you consume
everything you want. Widen your perspective. Think of the invisible
consequences behind your actions. Challenge yourself.

No specific person is to blame. There's no single enemy responsible for
causing the problem. Yet climate change is happening, and it’s deeply unjust
and immoral. With knowledge comes responsibility. We ask every single person
on this planet to seek for solutions within themselves, and find the courage
to act with global consciousness.

Hunger striking is a positive act of humble nonviolence that we are
undertaking as extremely concerned citizens. Judging from the support we are
getting, a lot of people feel the same way.

We're not only in a climate crisis, but also a democracy crisis. We must
highlight the failure of our democracies to reflect the best interests and
opinions of their population.

Many species throughout history have polluted, consumed or overpopulated
themselves into extinction. But if we as humanity fail to solve the climate
crisis, we may well become the first species who has done so in full
knowledge and awareness of its own actions. I believe in humanity, we can't
be that stupid.

Climate change is an opportunity to redefine our common values, and to
create the just and sustainable world that most people everywhere want. The
world is ready for change. This is the start of the sustainability era.

To move into that era, we have to do all what we can, right now, when
there's still the smallest amount of time left. We must be able to look back
and know that we did all what we could do. Maybe I’ll have children one day,
and I must be able to look them in the eye.

Sara Svensson

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