Student - November 26, 2019

Hunger strike is over; more actions underway (video)

Luuk Zegers

The four WUR-students that went on a hunger strike for a week to demand climate action have started eating again. ‘There were times when I really thought I was going to break fast. But then you remind yourself why you’re in it and you carry on.’

Anni Schlüter and Malik Dasoo of Extinction Rebellion Wageningen. © Luuk Zegers

The hunger strike was part of a worldwide action initiated by climate action group Extinction Rebellion. Four WUR-students stopped eating food from Monday 18 November until Monday 25 November. ‘It was difficult’, says master student International Land and Water Management Malik Dasoo (24). ‘But I think it was an important action for us. This is not just a movement that only seeks to disrupt. There are many kinds of protest. You can show sacrifice, and try to get people to listen in that way.’ 

Bachelor student Environmental Sciences Anni Schlüter (21) lost seven kilograms during the hunger strike. ‘The last few days I could only think about food. I literally couldn’t sleep because of it. And my energy level was low. I crawled up the stairs.’ Also Dasoo felt his body becoming weaker. ‘In class you feel quite slow and confused. Just a general inability to function like a normal human being.’

The students are still waiting for an official response from the university. ‘We definitely want to talk to them’, says Dasoo. ‘But I have the feeling that negotiations do not really get us anywhere.’ So Extinction Rebellion is planning more actions, like blocking the Mansholtlaan roundabout on this Friday morning, November 29, between 7:30 and 9:30.

‘We’ve gotten a lot of sympathy from many people at this university. Academics, a lot of students have reached out to us. But still the people who take the decisions don’t take us seriously enough. How do you disrupt the university? You stop their teaching. We’re hoping that if we get enough support from academics that we can organize them to walk out of university and refuse to teach for a day. That is the next step at least in my mind. We don’t stop until they reach our demands.’

WUR's press officer Simon Vink said that the university will talk with the students in January.

- Unfortunately, your cookie settings do not allow videos to be displayed. - check your settings

Re:actions 3

  • Rob

    It may not be easy to play the martyr and get positive attention, but it takes far less integrity and humility than doing anything worthwhile or effective.

    You studyat one the foremost university in the world for agricultural technology in the world, and can be doing far more to improve environmental health (albeit with far less fanfare and public recognition) by focusing on your work, and trying to increase food production efficiency, combat desertification and improve land regeneration strategies.

    Instead, you parade around crying "mea culpa!" in the hopes that people will consider you morally superior. You know what you're doing is nothing more than deracinated quasi-religious posturing, and that it has no impact on the environment, but my gut tells me you looked at saint Greta and felt instinctively from the roots of your limbic system that that sort of public veneration was your deepest heart's desire.

    Well enjoy it while it lasts; if you get bolder with your hunger strikes, it won't just be discomfort. Refeeding syndrome is lethal, and in this case, it would count as a Darwin award.

    Also, if you disrupt the functions of a university whose teaching and research is the one thing actually standing between humanity and a malthusian crisis, you're despicable.

  • Bobby Sands

    Wow, somebody should have explained to me this was an option. Giving up to get your opponents into submission.

  • James

    Quickly looking to Milak's and Anni's instagram accounts reveals (leisure) travels in the last two years to South Africa, Ireland, Columbia, Chile, New York, Miami, New Zealand, Argentina and probably more.

    It is easy to blame others for the environmental crisis, which we are in. But the travelling of you two shows the essence of the problem: people agree that action has to be taken, but (almost) nobody (including the two respresentatives from extinction rebellion), is willing to change their lifestyle.

    To respond to Malik's statement: ‘But I think it was an important action for us. This is not just a movement that only seeks to disrupt. There are many kinds of protest. You can show sacrifice, and try to get people to listen in that way.’

    Talking is not enough, it is time for action. Also by you two ;). Be pragmatic: Come up with solutions instead of blaming others together with the people in your idealistic circle. Start-up a business which makes sustainable solutions accessible, or come up with technical solutions during a phd.

    Please come up with solutions to the problems, instead of annoying people by blocking roundabouts.