U.S. climate lawyer sets himself on fire in protest

David Buckle at the New York composting centre that became his passion

David Buckle at the New York composting centre that became his passion

During Saturday morning's suicide, the famed 60 year old attorney left behind a suicide note in which Buckel told of his intention of burning himself to death with "fossil fuel" in a bid to show how mankind was likewise killing itself.

A suicide note read that Buckel used a "fossil fuel" to commit the suicide, indicating the action was done as a type of ecological protest. "I apologize to you for the mess".

The activist's note was recovered in a manila envelope marked 'To The Police, ' which was found inside a shopping cart Buckel had discarded at the scene. "Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early as a result - my death by fossil fuels reflects what we are doing to ourselves".

Buckel, who had recently turned his energies to environmental causes, is known for directing major same-sex marriage cases in Iowa and New Jersey in his role as marriage project director for Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization that promotes civil rights for the LGBT community.

Buckel added that he hoped his death would lead to greater activism: "Honorable objective in life invites honorable goal in death".

"This is not new, as many have chose to give a life based on the view that no other action can most meaningfully address the harm they see".

Buckel was the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson in Nebraska, in which a county sheriff was found liable for failing to protect Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Falls City, Neb. The case inspired the Oscar-winning 1999 movie "Boys Don't Cry", directed by Kimberly Pierce and featuring Hilary Swank as Teena.


"Honorable objective in life invites honorable goal in death", he concluded.

Buckel's self immolation led to passerby's expressing shock and horror upon coming across the man's charred corpse.

New York Daily News notes that Buckel also argued against Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay leaders and for the establishment of a Utah high school's gay student club.

He was also a nationally renown pioneer in #CommunityComposting and one of my mentors. He also served in an official capacity on the NYC Compost Project at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which is right next to Prospect Park. "He knew his craft and his trade and was strategic in how to build the blocks toward a sweeping victory".

According to a report in Slate.com, following Buckel's suicide, Lambda Legal also issued a statement mourning the death of one of their own.

Camilla Taylor, director of Lambda Legal, said in a statement to HuffPost that their organization will honor Buckel's life by "continuing to fight for equality".

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