Fast talker


Dr. Bill Miller, a retired palliative care and hospice chaplain, is a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby—a group that lobbies on behalf of the proposed Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763. Recently, Miller asked other members of the group’s Reno chapter to join him and fast on Fridays in solidarity with the young people behind the Fridays for our Future movement. On Friday afternoons in front of Reno City Hall, they’ll be out to engage passersby in conversation about climate change.

Why is fasting the way to make your point?

It was a bit out of desperation. There was so little going on here. I started it before I discovered [Citizens’ Climate Lobby]. And, you know, I wanted to symbolically sacrifice. It’s something Boomers were not raised to do. We’re quite an indulgent generation. And we can’t solve this crisis without some sacrifice. On the other hand, there’s enormous benefits to solving it. I mean not just the planet surviving, but we can create new jobs that can’t be outsourced, can’t be sent overseas. We can rebuild our economy. There could be literally millions of new jobs. There’s a lot of benefit to acting on this crisis.

New jobs in things like renewable industry and?

Yeah, in renewable energy, in all kinds of sustainable energies, in retrofitting houses.

Sure, things like retrofitting can’t be outsourced.

No, and windmills can’t be and solar panels can’t be and, to a certain extent, electric cars can’t be—although the Chinese are providing stiff competition, no doubt about that. But the other side of the equation is that there’s going to have to be some sacrifice. We’re going to have to change. We’re going to have to let go of things.

How long have you been fasting every Friday?

I started in late August. And I was actually out by the river. I was handing out little fliers.

Now you’re doing the same with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. So, how do you engage people out here?

Poorly! [Laughs] Opinions are pretty well formed, whether informed or not. So we try and meet people where they are. We ask them questions. We try not to argue but just to have a conversation and, you know, we’re really hoping to put down a marker here because what we’re doing in this hour is we’re supporting the student climate strikes as elders.

I understand another of your goals is explaining the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Who’s stopping to talk? How many Fridays have you been out here?

This is only our second time. So we’re still figuring it out—even if this is the smartest time and place. You know, it’s just passersby. … We’re just trying to see if we can put an anchor down to raise awareness that the issue hasn’t gone away and there’s … a very ingenious solution. So as dire as it is, it’s not hopeless.