Climate activist dies after setting himself on fire at Supreme Court

“The press then spoke of suicide, but in the end, it is not so. It’s not even a protest. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote monks, adding that “to burn oneself by fire is to prove that what one says is of the utmost importance. There is nothing more painful than getting burned. To say something while feeling this kind of pain is to say it with the greatest courage, frankness, determination and sincerity.

David Buckel, a prominent civil rights lawyer turned environmental activist, also set himself on fire in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 2018 to protest climate change and died. In a prior letter, Mr. Buckel alluded to the spiritual roots of self-immolation in the protests, including in Tibet.

Mr. Bruce had, on his own Facebook page almost three weeks before his act, recently edited a comment 2021 – under his message in 2020 warning of “irreversible” climate change – to include the date of his planned self-immolation, with a fire emoji. The apparent announcement of his plans was buried in his account’s timeline.

Other posts from Mr Bruce’s Facebook account dating back to April 2020 criticized “war profiteers”, President Donald J. Trump and collective inaction in the face of the worsening climate crisis. He also praised young climate activist Greta Thunberg, Dr King quoted, and no later than March spoke of the “compassion” of Ukrainian refugees.

Dr Kritee said the last time Mr Bruce communicated with her was in a Facebook post he sent in January, asking if she had seen his post about Ms Thunberg. She added that if she or any other Buddhist teacher in Boulder had known of his intention to set himself on fire, they would have discouraged him from doing so.

There have already been cases of public self-immolation in Washington. Arnav Gupta burned himself outside the White House in 2019 and later died from his injuries. A motive in this case has never been determined. Mohamed Alanssi, a Yemeni-born FBI informant, set himself on fire outside the White House in 2004 to protest his treatment by the government, but he survived. Norman R. Morrisona Quaker, set himself on fire outside the Pentagon in 1965 to protest the Vietnam War.