On 14th March 2022, 52-year-old Angus Rose embarked on a hunger strike outside the UK Parliament gates demanding that MPs receive a climate crisis briefing by Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor. A group of 79 leading climate scientists wrote a letter supporting his demand, including Sir David King who attended our COP26 panel in 2021, you can watch the highlights here.
This followed Vallance’s briefing to Boris Johnson about the climate emergency in January 2022. Johnson described the briefing as his ‘road to Damascus’ moment on climate science. Angus Rose felt passionately that all MPs needed this same information and realisation to act with the required urgency to the climate crisis.
After 37 days on hunger strike, Rose won his case and Sir Patrick Vallance will address MPs about the climate crisis in a parliamentary session that will be recorded, sent to all MPs and made publicly available.
Rose’s hunger strike as a form of protest is not new and was first practised by Mahatma Gandhi in 1932 when he began his hunger strike in protest of British rule in India.
Hunger strikes were part of Gandhi’s methods of non-violent action called Satyagraha which translates as ‘to compel someone to accept the truth’. An essential component of Satyagraha is taking actions that are non-violent and not resorting to violence at any point.
Climate Satyagraha is being practised today not only by Angus Rose but also activists that are part of climate action groups such as Extinction Rebellion. Their message to governments is clear: ‘tell the truth’ about the climate emergency and their methods to achieve this are exclusively through non-violent action.
OnePlanet and Local Governments
The urgency of the climate crisis cannot be ignored and 74% of UK councils have declared a climate emergency. However, knowing how to implement climate action is a challenge. OnePlanet is working to support UK Local Governments to achieve their net zero targets effectively whilst simultaneously addressing social, economic and environmental issues. To find out more, click here.