Prominent lawyer burns self to death to protest fossil fuels

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A prominent USA lawyer has died after setting himself on fire in a NY park in a protest against climate change.

Buckel had also reportedly sent the note to multiple news outlets, including The New York Times, warning that people were dying early deaths as a result of breathing in bad air.

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.

Buckel noted in his letter that he was fortunate to have "good health to the final moment", and added that he hoped his death would lead to increased action on environmental concerns. The case inspired the Oscar-winning 1999 movie "Boys Don't Cry", directed by Kimberly Pierce and featuring Hilary Swank as Teena.

He was also the strategist behind same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa, and helped set a precedent that U.S. schools have a duty to prevent anti-gay bullying.

"My name is David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide", the Brooklyn resident wrote.

It's a tragic shame that Buckel's life ended in such a way, knowing all the good he could have done for the world if he were still alive.

In his suicide note, Buckel recalled the Tibetan monk protesters who have set themselves on fire in protest of the Chinese occupation in Tibet, according to the New York Daily News.

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

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. The legal activist was well known for campaigning relentlessly for the rights of LGBT individuals in the US.

More recently, Buckel worked as an urban gardener and ecologist with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, helping run what he called the largest composting program in the country to use only renewable sources of energy.

He was also a nationally renown pioneer in #CommunityComposting and one of my mentors.

Tributes have begun to pour in for Buckel, with Lambda Legal calling his death a loss for the "entire movement for social justice".

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.

Camilla Taylor, who is the current director of Lambda Legal, told the HuffPost that they will honor his life by "continuing to fight for equality".

She added: "He was a very smart and methodical lawyer".

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