Local activist on hunger strike
GREENFIELD — Eighty-four-degree temperatures and high humidity by 11 a.m. in downtown Greenfield on Monday didn’t seem to bother Douglas E. Wight as he shouted out to passersby, asking what they were going to do about global warming.
The 70-year-old activist says he started a hunger strike just after 8 p.m. on June 30 and plans to stick it out until after midnight on July 31.
“I’m trying to bring awareness of what we are doing to this planet,” he said.
Wight had planned to go on a hunger strike in Washington, D.C. with others earlier this year, but he came home sick after just a few days. It was at that point that he said he would try again in July, this time on the Town Common.
He sat on the common Monday, which he has done for several hours each day since July 1, with signs all around him.
“Please America, Help Save Our Earth Now!” and “Peace” were just a couple of them. His Ford Ranger was parked nearby and it too displayed a sign to motorists approaching the traffic lights at the intersection of Main Street and Bank Row.
That one read, “Hunger strike to help stop and slow global warming — burning.”
Wight, a retired Greenfield resident, said all he plans to ingest over the next three-and-a-half weeks is water, vitamin water and other fluids.
He said he got advice from Greenfield resident Karen Fogliatti, because she went on a 44-day hunger strike on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in the early 1990s.
“She wants me to protect myself and be safe about this,” said Wight.
He said the reason he’ll be on the common through July is because he wants to know what it will take to “wake up this planet.”
He hopes people in Greenfield will lead the way in bringing awareness.
The town is allowing him to erect a free-standing netted tent to keep him out of the burning sun and any rain that might fall while he’s there. He returns home at the end of each day.
“I’m asking people I know, and people who walk by each day, to make a sign,” said Wight. “I hope to have 500 or more free-standing signs on the common by the end of my strike.”
He said his hunger strike isn’t really about the strike itself, and doesn’t want that to become the focus, but rather it is about grabbing people’s attention and getting them to ask questions about why he is there — about global warming and what they might be doing to contribute to it.
“If every person does just one tiny thing to help, it would add up fast to really big things,” said Wight. “I’m just here to plant a seed.”