Why a Hunger Strike

Robin Day 5

This piece written by Robin:

Why am I hunger striking?
The core issue for me is highlighting the vulnerability of our planetary life support systems, by making myself vulnerable.

I acknowledge that I am starting hunger-striking well-nourished and with no need to exert myself physically, so I am in a very different and privileged situation compared to hungry people around the world.

In the late 1980’s I re-established in New Zealand a global organisation called ’The Hunger Project’ to help address this major health crisis.

Hunger is a reality for millions and will be increasingly for billions of people, particularly in the Global south.

Already there are massive disruptions to crop production due to droughts, floods, locust swarms… with global heating of 1.1’C. The wars in Sudan and Yemen are largely over scarce resources of food and water – unfortunately, a harbinger of climate wars to come.
There is a long history of people hunger striking for religious or spiritual reasons, and to call attention to injustices; for example, Gandhi went on hunger strikes several times against British rule of India.

“The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.”

Sir David Attenborough

While governments have made promises to hold heating to 2’C, these are worthless unless followed up with effective, fast legislative action.

Currently, global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, and we are on track for at least 3’C heating by 2100; we can only imagine the horrors that await our children and grandchildren. And I’m using the word ‘our’ not only a personal but also in a national and global sense, and out of love and respect for the lives of all people and creatures on our planet Earth. Increasingly extreme weather events are causing the death of humans and other species, as well as the destruction of the natural world, e.g. the wildfires in Australia last summer.

It’s not hopeless however, we can take action as individuals and groups:

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead


  • Sign ‘Our Climate Declaration’* to form a powerful lobby group to counter industry pressure for maintaining the status quo/ returning to business as usual
  • Talk to family and friends to educate and encourage change, and – take numerous individual actions from taking public transport to changing our diet to vegetarian or vegan