For Brent Eichler, hunger pangs are a small pain to endure when compared to the unprecedented threat humanity faces due to climate change.
The Vancouver-based environmental advocate is putting his physical well-being on the line in an effort to save the last remaining old-growth forests in British Columbia.
Now on his 25th day without food, the 57-year-old tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that he doesn't have a great deal of hunger.
"It's the first three days that's kind of hard and then after that, it gets quite easy," he explains. "I feel pretty good mentally."
While he isn't feeling extreme hunger, the Save Old Growth and Extinction Rebellion member says he probably won't "last too much longer" and has doctors checking in with him daily.
Dr. Tim Takaro, who is monitoring him, states that “Brent is showing incredible stamina, but is feeling the effects of starvation. He continues to lose weight - nearly 20 pounds - and muscle mass. He is weak and having difficulty staying warm.
"He is risking damage to vital organs and dangerous heart rhythms that can be fatal.”
Save Old Growth civil resistance movement
Eichler is joined by advocate Howard Breen, 69, who will be withdrawing from fluids as well on Earth Day (April 22). Breen is currently on house arrest for an act of civil disobedience related to the Save Old Growth protests.
The pair's hunger strike is part of the Save Old Growth civil resistance movement, which has been blocking major roads and bridges, including the Trans Canada Highway, since mid-January.
When asked why he's elected to do a hunger strike instead of protesting with the group, Eichler notes that he's on probation for being "arrested so many times" and jokes that his "cowardice" prevents him from risking jail time.
Since he was unable to protest in the streets this time, the advocate had to find an alternative means of sounding the alarm. He's hoping to convince the Minister of Forests, the honourable Katrine Conroy, to host a public meeting on the protection of the last remaining old-growth forests in the province.
"At some point in my life, like two years ago, I decided my purpose was to try to do whatever I can to save what's remaining of nature and also the future of human civilization because I do feel both of those things are in very great danger now," he explains.
David Suzuki told V.I.A. in a previous interview that he understands why Extinction Rebellion engages in civil disobedience, adding that humanity is on a "suicidal path."
According to the iconic Canadian environmental activist, time is running out to prevent the most frightening aspects of climate change. As such, he isn't surprised that Vancouver's youth are taking to the streets to protest government inaction.