Climate Activist Wynn Alan Bruce Dies After Setting Himself On Fire In Front Of Supreme Court
A Boulder, Colorado photojournalist, Wynn Alan Bruce, passed away on Friday night from injuries he sustained after setting himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court. He was airlifted to a hospital and died that same night.
The incident occurred on the evening of Earth Day, and in the wake of the shocking event, it has been revealed that Bruce was a climate activist and Buddhist, who may have killed himself in protest of climate change. Users found a Facebook page with Bruce’s name which shows an edited comment from him under one of his posts warning of the “irreversible” effects of climate change displaying the date 4/22/2022 and a flame emoji.
He posted a year ago his intention to self-immolate as well as the date. This was his long-term plan. The post where he comments his intention links to this video: https://t.co/KwAGEMWOb4 pic.twitter.com/IbwRZE46rx
— TJ 🦆 (@tifotter) April 24, 2022
Dr. Kritee Kanko, who is a climate scientist in Boulder and fellow Buddhist who reportedly knew Bruce, told The New York Times that while his intentions can’t be determined with 100% certainty, “people are being driven to extreme amounts of climate grief and despair.” She added, “What I do not want to happen is that young people start thinking about self-immolation.” Dr. Kanko also said she and Bruce’s peers would have tried to stop him if they knew what he was planning.
Dr. Kanko shared the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, who wrote about Vietnamese monks that self-immolated in protest of the Vietnam War, online in the wake of Bruce’s death. “To burn oneself by fire is to prove that what one is saying is one of the utmost importance. There is nothing more painful than burning oneself. To say something while experiencing this kind of pain is to say it with the utmost of courage, frankness, determination and sincerity,” it reads in part.
Bruce may have chosen the Supreme Court for his apparent act of protest because it had been hearing a key environmental case in late February that could severely limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in reducing pollution. Climate activists have worried that the conservative-leaning court could gut attempts by the Biden Administration to introduce any meaningful environmental policy to the country.