From today’s Independent:
Leading LGBT+ rights lawyer David Buckel dies after setting himself on fire in protest in Brooklyn park
‘My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves’
A leading LGBT+ lawyer and environmental activist used fossil fuels to burn himself to death in New York in a drastic protest against climate catastrophe. David Buckel’s body was found by onlookers in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Police said the 60-year-old was pronounced dead at about 6.30am yesterday in what they deemed to be a suicide.
Before setting himself alight, he had stowed his identification and a suicide note close by, police sources said. The campaigner is understood to have used the note to implore others to have less selfish lives in order to protect the Earth. He said he wanted his death to lead to increased action…
The Daily News reported that the activist left the note in a shopping cart nearby, saying he hoped his death would be “honourable” and “might serve others”.
“Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather,” read the note. “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.”…
Mr Buckel’s mention of “pollution .. oozing inhabitability” and “air made unhealthy by fossil fuels” suggests that he was concerned by atmospheric pollution caused by the internal combustion engine, and rightly so. On the other hand, the Independent’s article speaks of “a drastic protest against climate catastrophe” and links the words “fossil fuels” to an article entitled: Shell predicted dangers of fossil fuels and climate change in 1980s.
Was it the unfortunate Mr Buckel who confused pollution from motor cars with catastrophic climate change, or the author of the Independent article? In the former case, the confusion may be said to have been resolved, however tragically. In the latter case, the confusion persists, and may lead to further tragic incidents. Was Mr Buckel misled by the EPA’s identification of CO2 as a pollutant into thinking that he was being asphyxiated by greenhouse gasses? Was he perhaps the first of the millions of victims of global warming we’ve been warned about?