Environmental activists around the world have announced they will begin a week-long hunger strike next week in a bid to force global leaders to urgently tackle the “climate emergency”.
An octogenarian from the UK will join hundreds of others in at least 22 countries who have signed up to go without food in protest against a lack of action being taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions and halt ecological breakdown.
The decision is a “last resort tactic”, according to international campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is spearheading the hunger strike.
Members from the UK branch of XR have delivered a letter to the country’s main political parties as they prepare to go to the polls in next month’s general election.
In the letter they issue a dire warning about the future of the planet and call for meetings with leaders to demonstrate their commitment to battling climate change.
The letter states: “Today, humanity is at a crossroads. Either we unite to prevent the rapidly escalating climate and ecological collapse, or this nation and global society will disintegrate beyond recognition.
“Your party has an absolute duty of care, for the current and future well-being of everyone in the United Kingdom.”
La Pethick, an 83-year-old from East Sussex, is set to take part in the protest.
“I am going on hunger strike for my family’s future and for future generations,” she said.
Another UK striker, 67-year-old artist Marko Stepanov from London, said: “I will strike for seven days or more to show my dedication and determination. I believe that the hunger strike is the strongest, effective, non-violent way to progress our cause.”
The strike, which aims to highlight the vulnerability of world food supplies and force governments to enact Extinction Rebellion’s three demands – tell the truth; act now; and go beyond party polictics – has been scheduled to continue for a week.
The action was initiated by Giovanni Tamacas of Extinction Rebellion US, whose extended family in Vietnam and El Salvador is already experiencing many disastrous effects of global warming.
The 20-year-old said: “We are hunger striking because we have no choice. We are being taken to our deaths.
“Greedy governments and corporations have criminally and catastrophically failed to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.
“Our shortsighted governments are too systemically corrupt to stop mass starvation, societal collapse and the death of billions of humans.”