Vigil Day 22, Hunger Strike Day 15.

An Unusual Encounter.

Today had an unusual beginning, when a gentle and intelligent man approached and said he is a geologist working in oil and gas exploration. He then handed me a substantial document he had written, and asked that I read it because he thought I was well meaning, but my efforts were unnecessary. His thesis is that the scientific consensus is wrong and CO2 is actually a cooling gas, not a warming gas in the atmosphere. Feeling that I would unlikely have time or energy to read such a long document, I invited him to stay and chat. Dialogue is the kaupapa on Parliament’s lawn.

First up, I said that I aim to be constantly open to changing my view based on the evidence and the science. I’m not interested in ideology or beliefs but in evidence and science. However, I also acknowledged that genuine science is always willing to question itself and be open to new knowledge, even if that new knowledge might undo established knowledge. I genuinely think this, although I struggle to imagine any scenario where CO2 isn’t a global warming gas as this is a very basic established fact.

An amiable conversation ensued. An important point of common ground appeared when he explained his wish that we continue extracting gas in particular, because that would provide a prosperous future for our children. I am hunger striking for our children’s future, so it was good to acknowledge our common ground on that point (our children’s future, not gas).

I was very grateful when Molly Melhuish appeared and took up the dialogue as a scientist speaking to a scientist. I did see him pause when Molly challenged one of his basic assumptions, and maybe, just maybe he will be reconsidering his thesis right now as result.

The end of this dialogue was very touching. We had established a respectful human connection. This gentleman has worked with oil companies and has no respect for them. At the conclusion of our encounter, he told me: “You have more courage than any oil executive I’ve ever met”. His good bye was actually affectionate, expressing respect and admiration (despite not agreeing). Putting his hand on my shoulder as he spoke, he even appeared emotional and was clearly genuine.

Wellbeing Update.

It is now getting late so I’ll make this very brief. I’m doing really well. Sleep is improving. I’ve had three fairly good sleeps in a row and last night was the best yet (Fitbit sleep score got to “good” for the first time). I’m feeling great which I put down to my body now being firmly in the third stage of hunger striking: my body is now fully in ketosis (using stored body fat for energy).

Right now I feel I could go to 4 weeks hunger strike quite easily, however I am not going to do that. I will break my hunger strike on Monday 3rd August, with Robin Treadwell picking up the hunger strike baton at that point. Tim and I plan to stay in Wellington through to Thursday (catching ferry Friday morning) to support Robin and give me recovery time. Sue Boyd will pick up being Robin’s support when Tim and I leave.

Arohanui, David.

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