Day 22: Lily Cole visits Hunger Strikers on their fourth week

press@risingup.org.uk

Phone: +44 7969 083 371 / +44 7459 055152Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Media Assets | New – Crowdfund the #ElectionRebellion!

  • Lily Cole, actor, environmental campaigner and patron of the Environmental Justice Foundation, visited hunger strikers today outside the Conservative Party Headquarters
  • The hunger strikers invited the Prime Minister to meet with them at midday to discuss the Climate and Ecological Emergency. The Conservative party has continued to ignore the hunger strikers who have been outside their headquarters for 22 days
  • More than 75 election candidates have now pledged their support for the Three Demands Bill, including 14 incumbents and candidates from all of the major political parties. Conservative parliamentary candidates have now declined 50 invitations to attend Climate Hustings

Three Extinction Rebellion activists have continued their hunger strike for the fourth week outside political party headquarters in London, putting pressure on party leaders to meet with them to discuss the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, known as the Three Demands Bill [1], and to take urgent action on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

The next Parliamentary term will be crucial if we are to take the necessary action to address the Climate and Ecological Emergency, and 75 Parliamentary candidates have now pledged their support for the bill, including 14 incumbents and candidates from all of the major political parties, with numbers growing daily in the lead up to Thursday’s General Election. 

Lily Cole, actor, environmental campaigner and patron of the Environmental Justice Foundation, is joining the call for urgent political action on the Climate and Ecological Emergency, and at Conservative Party headquarters at midday she read the following statement:

I wanted to come today, to stand in solidarity with Professor Peter Cole and Marko Stephanov, who have been on hunger strike for three weeks, asking our government and all political parties for stronger commitments for the climate. 

“These 76 and 67 year old grandfathers – and hundreds of other hunger strikers around the world – feel so desperate about the climate crisis that they risk damaging their own health on behalf of younger generations. They deserve to be heard. 

“We may live in a divisive political moment, but ensuring our environment – our very life support system – is prioritised is not a partisan or ideological issue. We all breathe the same air. The voices of our children and communities should not be ignored.” [2]

Conservative Party Parliamentary candidates, including the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, have now declined 50 invitations to Climate Hustings across the country.

Sarah Lunnon of Extinction Rebellion’s Political Circle said: “That the leader of the Conservatives and Prime Minister of our country could not be bothered to show up at the national Climate Hustings was shameful, and that around the country Tory after Tory candidate has also chosen to avoid Climate Hustings demonstrates that the Emergency we face isn’t taken seriously by the party. We face losing everything we cherish and those we love to this crisis and the response from the Conservatives, who seek to lead, is to literally climb fences to avoid questions. We are sending our children into an unknown world, unprotected, and those standing for government need a plan on how to secure their future – it would appear the Tories don’t have one that they are prepared to put up to scrutiny”

Hunger strikers have met with the leader of Plaid Cymru and senior figures in the Labour Party, Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, with follow up meetings expected. Only the Conservatives and Brexit Party are yet to make contact.

In a letter sent on Friday, hunger strikers and grandfathers Peter Cole and Marko Stepanov invited Boris Johnson to meet them today at midday. They continue to be ignored.

Excerpt from the letter, delivered on Friday 6 December: “As you may be aware, we have been on hunger strike outside the Conservative Party HQ for 19 days now. We are both grandfathers who feel we have no option but to take this drastic action to highlight the gravity of the climate and ecological catastrophe that we are all facing. We are doing this so that we can look our grandchildren in the eye. We are very disappointed that neither you nor any of your colleagues has taken the time to come and speak with us.  We would like to invite you to come and speak with us for a few minutes about our concerns, simply as a fellow human being who breathes the same air. By Monday we will be on day 22 of our hunger strike. [3]

Update from the Global Climate Hunger Strike around the world

This Global Hunger Strike highlights our current and future food vulnerability in the Climate and Ecological Emergency and act in solidarity with those already suffering. More than 500 people signed up in 28 countries. Many on 24 hour fasts in solidarity with Extinction Rebellion Hunger strikers.[3]

In Australia Dave McKay has also entered his fourth week of hunger strike and is outside Parliament House in Melbourne asking 12 members of parliament to meet him and discuss support for declaring a climate emergency in the state of Victoria. He has met eight so far.

Notes for Editors

[1] Draft of the Climate and Ecological Emergency (‘Three Demands’) Bill: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dXZif0DtyUkwUwQvj6XRQbFY_QwwoIUK/view 

Extinction Rebellion UK hunger strikers demand that all UK political parties and Parliamentary Candidates support the Three Demands Bill, and do all in their power to ensure it becomes law. The Bill calls for the following:

  • Tell the truth: Tell the truth by declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency and do all in their power to communicate the urgency for change, including working with government and other institutions.
  • Act Now: Promote policies to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • Beyond Party Politics: Help the government create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Sign up for Global Hunger Strike here: https://rebellion.earth/event/global-hunger-strike/

A copy of the letter delivered to all UK party leaders can be found here

[2] Lily Cole’s full statement – which was read out at today: 

“I wanted to come today, to stand in solidarity with Professor Peter Cole and Marko Stephanov, who have been on hunger strike for three weeks, asking our government for stronger political commitments for the climate. These 76 and 67 year old grandfathers – and hundreds of other hunger strikers around the world – feel so desperate about the climate crisis that they risk damaging their own health on behalf of younger generations. They deserve to be heard.

It is astonishing that in the three weeks that Peter and Marko have stood outside Conservative HQ, not one Conservative MP has met or spoken with them. It was equally disturbing that the Conservative and Brexit party leaders did not attend the recent climate debate. 

As agreed by 97-99% of scientists, human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss threatens life as we know it. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have called for “urgent, transformative” change to avert the worst impacts of climate change, and multiple polls show that the majority of British people feel are very concerned.

At this critical moment, we need courageous and ambitious political stewardship from any prospective government. It is heartening to see that most of the major UK political parties have stepped up to make significant climate pledges, and worrying that our current government, standing for re-election, haven’t.

We may live in a divisive political moment, but ensuring our environment – our very life support system – is prioritised is not a partisan or ideological issue. We all breathe the same air. The voices of our children and communities should not be ignored.”

[3] Full text of Extinction Rebellion hunger strikers’ letter to Boris Johnson:

Dear Mr Johnson,

As you may be aware, we have been on hunger strike outside the Conservative Party HQ for 19 days now.

We are both grandfathers who feel we have no option but to take this drastic action to highlight the gravity of the climate and ecological catastrophe that we are all facing. We are doing this so that we can look our grandchildren in the eye.

We are very disappointed that neither you nor any of your colleagues has taken the time to come and speak with us.

We have invited the media to come and visit us at 12 o’clock on Monday, 9 December and would like to invite you to come and speak with us for a few minutes about our concerns, simply as a fellow human being who breathe the same air.

By Monday we will be on day 22 of our hunger strike.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Cole and Marko Stepanov

Further information on the Hunger Strike:

  • Everyone who will participate as a hunger striker will need to fill in a form. The form is mandatory and if the striker is not registered, they will not be considered as part of the Extinction Rebellion Global Hunger Strike. This is for safety reasons.
  • Furthermore, we are imposing a strict 24 hours limit for participants under 18 to hunger strike for health and safety reasons. For an under 18 to participate they MUST have both medical and parental consent and complete this form.
  • The Global Climate Hunger Strike was initiated by Giovanni Tamacas of Extinction Rebellion US. Giovanni’s mother is from Vietnam and father from El Salvador. Like millions globally, his family are already feeling the devastation of the Emergency.  
  • Protesters vow hunger strike to push U.S. on climate change – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-climate-protests-trfn-idUSKBN1XM2KU

Photo & Film opportunity: Find photos of hunger strikers here in the relevant day here. (Contact 07969 083 371)

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook.

Get involved:

About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

join the rebellion