The Common Good

Why A Climate Activist Fasted Nine Days For Immigrant Families

Date: December 13, 2013

This is the story of how a climate justice activist, who has dedicated the past two years of his life to stopping the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, found himself fasting nine days in a tent on the National Mall in support of immigrant families. My story begins with pedaling my "rocket trike" 485 miles from Cleveland to Washington, D.C. to deliver a petition calling on President Obama to shut down Keystone XL's southern leg in Texas and Oklahoma. That journey culminated in early November, with a group of climate justice leaders gathering outside the White House to demand that our President extinguish this 485-mile tar sands, carbon bomb fuse before it is too late. That is what brought me to D.C., and it is why I am still here….

The list of visitors while I was in the tent, including some who joined the fast, reads like a virtual Who's Who: Gloria Steinem, charismatic faith leaders, like the Reverends Bernice King, Jesse Jackson and Jim Wallis, prominent labor leaders, like Service Employees International Union President, Mary Kay Henry and Communications Workers of America President, Larry Cohen, well-known progressive activists, like Dolores Huerta and Paul and Heather Booth, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Xavier Becerra, and Republican House members Jeff Denham and David Valadao. In all, nearly 50 lawmakers visited the tent during the month-long campaign, including my own Congressman Jared Polis from Boulder.