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Earth Minute: David Buckel’s Self-Immolation In Face of Climate Change

Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann discussed the suicide of attorney and environmental activist David S. Buckel as part of this week’s Earth Minute, a regular segment on the Sojourner Truth Radio Show. Sojourner Truth airs every week on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles and streaming around the world.


On April 14th in the early morning hours, attorney David S. Buckel, known as a champion of gay rights, died after setting himself on fire in a protest of climate change.

In an email, David explaining his self-immolation.

“Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather.  Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result — my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”

He compared his death to the self-immolation of Tibetan monks protesting oppression by the Chinese government. 

“This is not new.  Many have chosen to give a life based on the view that no other action can most meaningfully address the harm they see. Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded actions, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard. I hope it is an honorable death that might serve others.”

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project.

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