Howard Breen, a 68-year-old Nanaimo climate activist stopped taking fluids at midnight Thursday and on Saturday afternoon said he faces life-threatening seizures.

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Old growth forest activist Howard Breen is experiencing brain fog, confusion, and risks having a seizure beginning Saturday.

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The 68-year-old Nanaimo resident, with the group Save Old Growth, stopped taking all fluids on Thursday at midnight, just before day 22 of his hunger strike. Another member of Save Old Growth, Brent Eichler, was on day 30 of a hunger strike on Saturday.

“I feel a little bit unbalanced when I go to rise. Lightheadedness, dizziness the stomach pains have stopped but I’m just trying to be mindful of what the next symptoms begin to look like,” said Breen, on Saturday afternoon.

He said his doctor told him he risks hallucinations, seizures, and life-threatening damage to his organs, and he has to have someone with him at all times to monitor his breathing.

“We’re calling them are my death watch monitors now,” he said.

Howard Breen, 68 of Nanaimo is on a hunger strike and as of Thursday has stopped taking fluids until he gets a public meeting with the forests minister.  He is part of the activist group Save Old Growth that wants an end to logging BC's old growth forests.
Howard Breen, 68 of Nanaimo is on a hunger strike and as of Thursday has stopped taking fluids until he gets a public meeting with the forests minister. He is part of the activist group Save Old Growth that wants an end to logging BC’s old growth forests. Photo by Save Old Growth Media /PNG

On Friday, Forests Minister Katrine Conroy called Breen and said she wouldn’t hold a public meeting with them and that they should end the strike.

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“She called yesterday. We had a very polite talk with each other. We talked about my time working with the (NDP) party as a member and supporter for most of my life,” he said.

Breen said the minister wanted to tell him how much the government had done to protect old growth logging, but he said he already knows what the government has done and didn’t want to waste her time.

He said he assured her the public meeting would not be a debate but a chance of the government and the public to hear what they have to say about ending old-growth logging and tackling the climate emergency.

“I feel she’s entirely on the wrong side of history on this…the fact that by liquidating our terrestrial carbon sinks—and it’s not just old growth—that we are never going to meet our climate targets provincially.”

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The ministry has not yet returned a message asking for comment Saturday, however last week Forests Ministry spokesman Nigel McInness said the minister would not be making a public statement on the hunger strike.

Save Old Growth is a civil resistance movement, which has been blocking major roads and bridges, including the Trans Canada Highway, since mid-January.

They want the government to stop logging old growth forests because of the climate crisis and to protect endangered species.

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