Guillermo Fernandez sits with a banner that reads "Hunger strike for the climate of our children" hung over his shoulder during his hunger strike in Bern on Monday. Reuters
Guillermo Fernandez, a 47-year-old former IT programmer, quit his job to go on strike from Nov.1 — the day after the start of the Glasgow COP26 climate summit.
He is demanding that Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, who attended the conference, informs parliament of the "urgent and bleak" situation due to climate change and takes bold measures to address it.
"We are a small country, we are rich and we can invent the solution for the future. We just have to start now," Fernandez told Reuters in the capital of Bern's main square outside parliament.
"I do know that what I am demanding is tough and might require that I do die."
Temperatures in Switzerland are rising at around twice the global rate, melting glaciers and thawing permafrost, and many climate activists are disappointed with official measures. Climate Action Tracker, a tool developed by a scientific research group, rated Switzerland as "insufficient."
A spokesperson for the environment ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fernandez, from the town of Gruyeres in the canton of Fribourg, says he decided on his daughter's 13th birthday in August — which coincided with the release of a major UN climate report warning of climate disruptions for decades — to start the strike.
Fernandez said his children were proud of his actions. "They understand that saving their future now requires a struggle. And in struggles for justice, you might die and they know it," he said, close to tears.
The United Nations panel on climate change told the world that global warming was dangerously close to being out of control — and that humans were “unequivocally” to blame.
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While most of her peers are preparing for university or enjoying summer vacation, 17-year-old Howey Ou is braving intimidation and criticism in China to save the world from climate catastrophe.
Fish and other marine life may have to flee thousands of kilometres to escape damaging heatwaves, according to research published on Wednesday, highlighting the scale of disruption caused by these increasing surges in ocean temperatures.
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