A local pastor ended his week-long hunger strike yesterday in the CBD, undertaken to raise awareness about the need for a sustainable and meaningful response to climate change.
City Baptist Church pastor Jeff McKinnon is a coordinator for the Extinction Rebellion, and said the strike was brought about by his concerns over the "urgency of climate change."
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"I think the week went okay, but it's not an enjoyable experience, but it got a little bit easier over the last couple of days," he said.
"I talked to a whole range of people and most were very supportive. We've had a couple of people come past with opposite views or no real knowledge about it and were interested to find out more.
One lady had never heard of climate change. She was very friendly and interested and not negative. The only negatives were people who had very strong conspiracy theories.- City Baptist Church pastor Jeff McKinnon and Extinction Rebellion co-ordinator
Mr McKinnon took his last bite to eat on Sunday, December 12 before starting the strike. He said the lack of food had clearly affected him during the last six days.
"One of the things I discovered doing the hunger strike was you do get a bit testy and short in your capacity to navigate relationships," he said.
"When you are seriously hungry you just get tired of working with someone. One of the reasons for doing the strike was one of the biggest effects of climate change is food security.
"Once you get that you start to get people that are poor, they're desperate, hungry and tired and that can lead to war."
Mr McKinnon said that he and the group hold events in the city regularly.
"They often involve people getting arrested," he said. "That's really our prime way of simply saying to the community that this issue is important, and this is serious.
"We need to do what is needed around the world, and in Tasmania. Tasmania will not be immune from the effects of climate change.
"We are one of the best places on earth to be, but the rest of the world is not going to let us have our cosy little lifestyle."
Mr McKinnon said the government in Australia was not doing enough to combat the effects of climate change.
"Even the Labor policy is nowhere near enough," he said. "We will just get into tipping points and blow outs.
"Politically my action was a hunger strike calling on the Australian government and the governments of the world to immediately tell the truth about the imminent danger of climate change and immediately take action to decarbonise our economy.
"It is predicted that food security is likely to collapse in much of Asia, and cities such as Mumbai, Calcutta and Jakarta will be severely flooded by ocean inundation in the next 10-20 years.
"For at least 30 years the governments of the world have knowingly put politics and economics ahead of addressing the physical reality of this crisis. Humanity is collectively without excuse."
A state government spokesperson said Tasmania was "leading Australia when it comes to acting on climate change".
"We have achieved net zero emissions in six of the last seven years, we already generate 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewable energy, and we have introduced nation-leading legislation for a new economy-wide emissions reduction target of net zero emissions, or lower, from 2030," the spokesperson said.
"The Tasmanian Government is also finalising its next Climate Action Plan, which will be released in early 2022."
Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said more needed to be done in Tasmania to combat climate change.
"Tasmania only has a respectable national carbon footprint because the forest peace agreement in 2013 protected large tracts of our carbon rich old growth forest from logging," Senator Whish-Wilson said.
"The Tasmanian Liberal government has now ripped up this agreement and our forests are being logged again. No-one will take them seriously on climate action while they continue to ignore IPCC advice and cut down some of the most carbon rich forests on the planet."
Senator Whish-Wilson said organisations like the Extinction Rebellion continued to be a thorn in the side of those who deny or obfuscate over climate change.
"They are a help because they are a hindrance," Senator Whish-Wilson said.
"While they might annoy some people, they get noticed, and their actions make people think and reflect.
"The XR people I know are highly respected members of our community: doctors, teachers, preachers and so on. They understand that the inconvenience some of their actions pose is nothing compared to the disruption climate change is already bringing to our lives and will increasingly do to future generations on this planet."
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