A prominent environmental activist has died after setting himself on fire in a NY park to protest pollution and the use of fossil fuels, local media reported late Saturday.
His charred remains were found just after sunrise on Saturday (Sunday Australian time) in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City.
In a suicide note left near his body, Buckel said he had used "fossil fuel" to ignite the fire and wanted his death to symbolize what humans are doing to Earth, the New York Daily News reported. "I hope it is an honorable death that might serve others".
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In 2006, he testified on behalf of Lambda Legal before the New Jersey Assembly's Judiciary Committee, urging members to oppose a bill that sought to establish civil unions, instead of marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Varous said she often saw Buckel and his partner at the Park Slope Food Co-op and a farmer's market.
Officials say it was the former cause he referenced repeatedly in his letter, along with the Tibetan tradition of protest suicides similar to that reportedly causing his death. He also worked with the NYC Compost Project as an ecological activist. Buckel emailed copies of the note to several news organizations, including the New York Times.
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.
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"My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves", Buckel wrote.
"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's work included cases for Lambda Legal, the country's largest and oldest LGBTQ legal organisation.
Offered Camilla Taylor, Lamba Legal's director of constitutional litigation and acting legal director in a statement, 'This is a tragic loss for our Lambda Legal family and for the social justice movement'.
He argued against the Boy Scout ban on gay, fought for the right of gay high school students in Salt Lake City to organize a club and helped a Pennsylvania woman win a lawsuit allowing her to put "beloved life partner" on the headstone of her partner.
Susan Sommer, a former attorney for Lambda Legal and now the general counsel for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, also reacted to Buckel's death.
The statement continued: "Our hearts go out to all who knew David". "We were a little freaked out", the jogger told the Daily News.