Vigil - Climate Justice for the Philippines

Friday, November 22, 2013 - 12:30pm to 4:30pm

Constituency office of Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources
511 Lawrence Ave West (steps from Bathurst; about 5 blocks east of Lawrence West subway station)

This Friday, November 22, marks the final day of COP 19. Canada's position at COP 19 has been nothing short of shameful. The Harper administration has clearly revealed its climate stance by applauding Australia's carbon tax repeal. Canada again is obstructionist; it is wrong to discourage other industrialized nations from following through on their own climate change commitments, wrong to interfere with the European Fuel Quality Directive, and wrong to dither and withhold funds for the Green Climate Fund.

Are you in Toronto? Can you join those of us who are fasting in solidarity with Yeb Saño, chief negotiator for the Philippines at COP 19,

Even if you are not fasting, come stand with us. If you are unable to join us, please send a letter to your MP, and copy Mininister Oliver. That is a way to participate from wherever you are.

The Fierce Urgency of Now

In interview with Michael Enright, Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland) spoke of her fears we are bringing about "a world of catastrophes over and over again. The 200 million people who may be climate-displaced - where are they going to go? There will be no country that will be immune to this. If [the planet] becomes too dangerous, it will be too dangerous for Canadians, for the children and grandchildren of those alive today.

"We're putting at risk the futures of our children and grandchildren. Let's move together on sustainable development goals, but make them meaningful, by making sure that we have a climate agreement that puts a cap on emissions. And we need a price on carbon, and we need to remove those fossil fuel subsidies, and we need to leave the reserves in the ground, that cannot be used if we're to have a fair world, because we don't need then anymore, because we've innovated, which will give us a low carbon future."

November 17, Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice

We are writing this in the after-glow of a glorious day of actions defending the climate and defending our communities. Over 130 communities organized actions across the county as part of Lead Now’s November 16th initiative. See Several ClimateFasters participated in the Toronto event, bringing our banner, Hungry for Climate Leadership, Hungry for Climate Justice.

We are indeed hungry for climate leadership – and we are not seeing any from the current government in power in Ottawa, and very little leadership at the COP talks this week in Warsaw Poland. This despite the shattering super-typhoon that hit the Philippines just over a week ago.

The chief negotiator of the Philippines, Yeb Saño, has been fasting at the talks in solidarity with his country men and women who have been without food, many for a full week, and as a call to action at COP. Surely now we see what ignoring climate change can do. Will we continue to ignore it until it is too late to recover balance in our climate systems? Business as usual has us reaching a nearly 4 degree rise in temperature by 2100, far above the 2 degree rise which has been agreed upon universally as the upper limit, the amount we should not rise above.

What we now need are action plans. We need a cap on emissions, a price on carbon, an end to fossil fuel subsidies; we need to leave the reserves in the ground, and we need a real commitment to transforming our economy into one that is sustainable, just, low carbon.

There are things we can do as individuals: ride bikes, change lightbulbs, eat more vegetarian meals, and locally grown and in season produce, plant trees are some of the options. But we cannot achieve a nearly 100% reduction in CO2 emissions by mid-century without changes in public policy - and that requires government leadership, by forward thinking leaders. Please let your political representatives know that you care, and that you want to see action. If you haven’t done so yet this week, please take the time to send your MP a letter, copied to the PM, party leaders, and critics, through our sample letter page. Please personalize your letter.

And please help to educate and mobilize others. Letters to the editor in response to articles (or lack of articles – how much have you heard in your media about the COP talks?) are very important. They are read by MPs' offices and they show the media what people are interested in and concerned about. Talk shows are another way to participate – and comments in response to radio programs.

You may wish to join in a solidarity fast with Yeb Saño.

We know that we can make a difference. We know that our voices are essential to achieving change. This is a huge push required to get our society to make that massive transition from dependence on fossil fuels to an energy system based upon renewable energy - a truly sustainable energy system. The fossil fuel companies are fighting us every step of the way. But there are more of us. And the future matters to us. If we want to pass on a living planet to the next generations we must act now.

Fast with Yeb

Yeb Saño is the chief negotiator of the Philippines. Hear the speech which moved COP 19's plenary to tears: Many have been moved to fast in solidarity with him. At this time, about 100 participants at COP 19 are fasting, some for the duration in solidarity with him, others for a day at a time.
Fast For the Earth has set up a page where you can indicate your choice to Fast with Yeb:
There is also an interfaith call for the Interfaith Fast in Solidarity with the Philippines. People can sign on to participate in part or all of the fast by visiting

Sign Yeb Saño's Petition