Fast for the Planet Website:



IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 18th March 2009

CONTACT:    Helen Gilbert (Events Coordinator, St Ethelburga's) : 020 7496 1610;     Muzammal Hussain (Chair, LINE): 0845 456 3960

Just a few days before world leaders come to London to discuss the global economy[1], a group of people will be fasting together to affirm their commitment to a world that moves away from greed and corporate domination, and towards simplicity, community, and genuine concern for the environment [2]. This simple non-violent action is part of an ongoing concept that has been developed by LINE (London Islamic Network for the Environment) [3] and  St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation & Peace [4]. It is called 'Fast for the Planet' [5] and the event will take place in the heart of the City on Sunday 22nd March 2009 [6].

Muzammal Hussain, initiator of Fast for the Planet, and Chair of LINE said:

"Although our gathering was not intended to coincide with a meeting of world leaders, with the G20 being just round the corner, the two events are too close in time and place for this to be ignored. Our gathering in the City is expected to be a diverse event, reflecting the cultural richness of London. As we fast together for universal values, we ask 'world leaders' to take note."

Helen Gilbert, co-organiser of Fast for the Planet, and events coordinator at St Ethelburga's said:

Fasting has been used by many of the world's great peacemakers and social activists both to express opposition towards unjust systems and to purify oneself internally. That the G20 are meeting down the road next week suggests this Fast for the Planet event is an opportunity to draw the parallels between inner transformation and the transformation needed for our global community.



1) On 2nd April 2009, leaders from the G20 countries representing 85% of the worlds output will meet in London to discuss the global economy. See: http://www.londonsu uk/en/summit- aims

2) Fasting from food and drink has been practised by social activists throughout human history. Gandhi frequently engaged in fasting and integrated it into his political activism. Abdul Ghaffar Khan, an activist who raised history's first "non-violent army", had fasted for similar reasons to Gandhi. Fasting is also an important aspect of many Faith traditions.

3) LINE (The London Islamic Network for the Environment) is a pioneer of local Islamic environmental activism in the UK, and was established in 2004. It engages in a transformative approach, and is open to people of all faiths and beliefs. LINE'S activities include deep dialogue, delivering educational talks and workshops, resource sharing, and participative outings in nature. LINE works to challenge corporate domination, consumerism and a fictitious growth-based economy, whilst working towards simplicity, community building and nurturing alternatives in the context of a diverse society. Website: www.lineonweb.

4) ) St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace inspires and equips people to pursue reconciliation and peace in their own lives and communities. We run a programme of events that brings people of different faith backgrounds together to explore the connections between global and environmental awareness and the building of collaborative relationships to serve the common good. Website: www.stethelburgas. org

5) 'Fast for the Planet' aims to facilitate two kinds of movements. A movement towards , and a movement away from . Through participating, people will be expressing an intention to move away from submission to: i) corporate domination; ii) consumerism; iii) the dominant, interest-based and fictitious monetary-system; iv) a dependence on fossil fuels. Simultaneously, by fasting participants hope to i) strengthen their inner resources, with an associated intention to move towards: ii) simplicity, sharing and community building; iii) economic systems that are nurturing to life, soul and community; iv) non-polluting energy, and sustainable use of the earth's resources.

6) There was a first main event on Oct 19th 2008. This is the 2nd main event and will take place on Sunday March 22nd 2009; Time: 4 - 8.20pm; Venue: St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation & Peace, 78 Bishopsgate, London. EC2N 4AG. (Nearest tube: Liverpool Street); Website: www.fastfortheplane ; Registration via website. The event will include: reflective exercises; ending fast together; and a choice of workshop: 'A very brief introduction to Permaculture' , with Nicole Freris (Naturewise) ; 'Debt-free Home Finance', with Tarek El Diwany (Author, 'The Problem with Interest); 'Sharing Stories & Poetry', with Peter Challen (Christian Council for Monetary Justice); plus a talk on 'Forms of Activism', by Derek Wall (Green Political Campaigner). Facilitators for the event will be: Helen Gilbert (St Ethelburga's) , Olufemi Hughes (Community Dialogue for Change - CDC) and Muzammal Hussain (LINE).