(This image was created by Donnachadh McCarthy, who wrote passionately about David’s passing on facebook here.)
Rest in Power David Buckel, prominent US gay rights lawyer and environmental activist, who tragically burnt himself to death this week. He set himself alight with petrochemicals to draw attention to the escalating climate crisis, which the corporatocracy has been persuading people to ignore for decades. In his note, he said “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 expressed hope that his death would serve as a call to action, saying, “Honourable purpose in life invites honourable purpose in death“.
David Buckel is sadly not the deep green movement’s first martyr.
Earlier this year environmental activist, Kavous Seyed Emami, a professor and prominent environmental activist, apparently committed suicide while detained in a Tehran prison.
In late October 2016, Environmentalist Jawahar Kumaran killed himself and left a video protesting about toxic plastic. In the video, he said “I am sacrificing my life in the hope that it will trigger serious concern about plastic use in India. Since all of my peaceful means of protest failed, I’m forced to choose suicide. To save the lives of millions of people affected by toxic plastic, I don’t think it’s wrong to kill myself.”
In July 2016 a pioneering environmentalist couple, Judi and Lou Friedman had apparently also killed themselves. They had been extremely active in educational, environmental, peacekeeping, alternative energy and anti-nuclear efforts locally, nationally and internationally.
In December 2005, ELF environmental activist and animal rights activist, William C Rodgers was found dead in his cell. According to police, he had used a plastic bag to commit suicide.
In September 2003 ecologist and author, Dr Garrett Hardin and his wife, Jane Hardin took their own lives. Dr. Hardin was suffering a heart disorder, and Jane had Lou Gehrig’s disease. They were both members of End-of-Life Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society.
Kristin Marie Snyder, a self-employed environmental consultant apparently took her own life in February, 2003. A search for information about her tragic passing certainly raises far more questions than it does answers.
In July 1995: Alexander Langer ended his life by hanging himself from an apricot tree at Pian de’ Giullari, close to Florence. His note read: “Don’t be sad, continue doing what is right.” He was active in the social movements of 1968, a renowned journalist, and the founder and leader of the Italian Greens.
The list goes on and on. I can’t bring myself to keep compiling it. I’ve been trying to remember the name of the first such deep green suicide I heard of, some years ago now. He was an American hermit concerned with overconsumption who had been living a sustainable lifestyle off-grid. I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember his name now. If anybody knows who I’m talking about, please remind me. (*update – a kind reader has emailed to remind me that his name was Michael Ruppert, a writer, musician, police officer, investigative journalist, political activist, and peak oil awareness advocate who tragically chose to end his incredible life with a gunshot to the head in April 2014).
With the utmost respect to their individual right to self-determination, all of these climate disaster martyrs could have achieved much more if they were still alive and campaigning with a crew of supportive people around them.
As noble as the motivations for their choices might be, we really don’t need any more conscious, conscientious human beings to go this way. Particularly as there are so few like them and especially as corporate power is assassinating environmental activists in their hundreds across Latin America and worldwide. 200 environment protectors across 24 countries were killed in 2016. That’s four murders a week. If the trend has continued, it should be around one a day by now.
As the overwhelming savagery of the 6th Mass Extinction continues to escalate, we’re going to need to really look out for and help each other cope.
If anybody reading this is feeling so low as to consider doing something so radical as to take their own life in the name of any cause, (or none), please reach out for help first. If you don’t have friends or family you can talk to, I’ll always be here to listen and to help if I can. annnarkeh(at)gmail(dot)com – (remove brackets, insert symbols).
You are not alone, even if it feels like you are.
Don’t burn out. Keep it lit.
Be excellent to each other.
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The Extinction Symbol represents extinction. It is quite important to raise awareness of the 6th Mass Extinction, particularly as corporate power invests so much pretending that it isn’t really happening…