Environmental advocate dies after setting himself on fire in New York

Environmental advocate dies after setting himself on fire in New York

The New York Fire Department found Buckel early Saturday morning after receiving a report of a fire in the Brooklyn public park.

According to his explanation, he used "fossil fuel" to stage the "protest suicide", citing the accelerant as a metaphor for the ecological damage against which he was demonstrating.

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.

Buckel had earlier gained fame as he represented in court Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was killed in the state of Nebraska in 1993. Hilary Swank, who starred in the film, won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her portrayal of Teena.

Buckel, who lived near the park, was a renowned lawyer and activist who worked with the Marriage Project for the gay civil rights group Lambda Legal. The legal activist was well known for campaigning relentlessly for the rights of LGBT individuals in the US.

Buckel's suicide notes were left inside an envelope labeled "for the police" placed inside a garbage bag left inside a shopping cart near the body.

The New York Times said it received an emailed copy of Mr Buckel's note, in which he said: "Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather".

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.

Buckel ran the NYC Composting Project out of Red Hook Community Farm.

A second note was also found at the scene, though this one was typed.

Buckel's body was already completely burned by the time firefighters arrived, according to the New York Post.

'Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded actions, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard'.

Susan Sommer, a former Lambda Legal attorney who is now the general counsel for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice in New York City, told the Times that Buckel 'was all about justice, but he was also all about what it means to be human'. "We were a little freaked out", the jogger told the Daily News.

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'.