Civil Disobedience

June 15 2011

A growing number of people are advocating for civil disobedience for protecting the climate and the people harmed by the global warming catastrophes. Today it is an article in a canadian newspaper.

 

March 2011
Tim DeChristopher is on trial for civil disobedience for protecting the Climate. This story that is on going has a lot of reporting in Huffington or Climate Progress.
Hereunder is a selection of articles:

The story (by Joe Romm in Climate Progress)
In 2008 a young environmental activist named Tim DeChristopher bid on 13 parcels of land quietly put up for auction by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the waning days of the Bush Administration. This land was part of a larger offering by the BLM of federal public land in an attempt to open it up to oil and gas exploration. The majority of the land was near national parks in southern Utah.In an effort to derail any number of oil, gas, and mining interests from getting their claws into this land and endangering some of the last great places on earth, DeChristopher risked going to jail to stop it. [Yesterday]  afternoon he was found guilty and jail seems more of a potential reality than ever.
Guest blogger David Stockbridge Smith has some thoughts on DeChristopher, that I repost below.Smith is a Climate Hawk, activist green Architect and fledgling organic farmer attempting to live a principled life fully engaged in the battle to curb Anthropogenic Global Warming.  You can learn more about hims at stockbridgegreen.com [3].Tim DeChristopher sets a new standard for activism in the battle to limit AGW. He is facing a prison sentence of up to ten years, based on two felony charges. The trial involves his participation in an federal oil & gas leasing auction for drilling rights on public lands two years ago, goes to the jury today in Salt Lake City, Utah.I don’t know Tim personally. I came to know of his plight about a month ago when I happened on a series, 7 short interviews that were posted on solveclimate.com [4]. Tim is a guy, an ordinary guy who went to protest a federal auction and rather than just standing in the crowd, did an extraordinary thing. He went inside. He became a participant in the auction, bidding up prices and eventually winning 10 leases himself for 1.8 million dollars. As it turns out, this act had great consequences.It took 3-1/2 months for charges to be brought. I guess nobody knew what to do. More important than breaking the law, his actions made a lot of people angry; people who had vested financial interests, powerful people whose representatives were also at this auction, others who were not at the auction who didn’t want a “guy” messing in their private “public” process. It turned out that the auction was illegal and shouldn’t have happened in the first place. The fed’s overturned the results and no one got their leases. I am wondering why no charges have been brought against anyone relative to the illegal nature of the auction and if one reviewed other previous auctions if any might be illegal as well. But, that is beside the point.Individuals can make a big difference. History is filled with actions of individuals who took great risks. Judging from legal consequences, Tim’s action is among the riskiest in the battle to stem global warming, to date. Tim’s act brought attention to the leasing process and a wrong was made right. He has also set an example of what bold, selfless actions can accomplish in a troubled world. In this case it’s too soon to tell where this will lead, but I am filled with hope. In my world, others who share concerns about AGW will respond to Tim’s gesture. They will become empowered. They will find it impossible to sit still. They will find weaknesses in the operations and strategies of our opponents and strike with precision.For more information, go to Peaceful Uprising (http://www.peacefuluprising.org/climate-trial [5]), covering the events in Salt Lake City in detail.– David Stockbridge Smith

Bill Mc Kibben reaction:
Let's consider for a moment the targets the federal government chooses to make an example of. So far, no bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we know it at risk. But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas barons? As Tim DeChristopher found out on Thursday, that'll get you not just a week in court, but potentially a long stretch in the pen.Tim is a hero not because he knew what he was getting into. As his testimony made clear this week, he had no idea at all; his decision to become Bidder No. 70 was about as spontaneous an action as we've ever seen.And that's what we need more of. More willingness to jump. Not blindly -- if were going to do civil disobedience on a mass scale, and I think we're going to have to, then some careful planning is necessary. But when you get right down to it, there's always going to be a moment when you have to say: time to jump. Time to leave behind the world you've known and take a chance. The furniture of power -- from stone-faced cops to imposing courthouses -- is all designed to make you turn back from that edge.Tim took that leap. The government is going to try and make an example of him. It will be harder for them if there are more of us.And who should that us be? Not just, or even mainly, college kids. That's too easy, and it's not fair since they still have first jobs to land, careers to build. Better those of us who have spent our lives pouring carbon into the air. I remember my old and dear friend Doris Haddock, also known as Granny D. We were arrested together a decade ago, in the first instance of civil disobedience on climate change in the country. Compared with Tim we took no real risk -- as it turned out, we didn't even spend the whole night in jail. But I remember the moment when Granny D, handcuffed to me, looked up and said, "I'm 93 and I've never been arrested before. I should have started long ago!"If you're outraged by what happened to Tim, and if you're inspired, make sure to follow the group he's helped found, Peaceful Uprising. And if you're thinking about laying it on the line, give us your name at ClimateDirectAction.org.If the feds think this prosecution/persecution will deter us from working for a livable planet, they couldn't be more wrong. Tim was brave and alone. We will be brave in quantity.

Tim DeChristopher statement after the trial
What the world wanted to see was how you would react. And you have reacted with joy and resolve. You've shown that your power will not be intimidated by any power that they have, and that's the most important thing that's happened here this week.
Because everything that happened inside that building tried to convince me that I was alone and that I was weak. They tried to convince me that I was like a little finger out there on my own that could easily be broken. And all of you out here were the reminder for all of us that I wasn't just a finger all alone in there, but that I was connected to hand with many fingers that could be united together as one fist, and that that fist could not be broken by the power that they have in there. That fist is not a symbol of violence. That fist is a symbol that we will not be mislead into thinking that we are alone. We will not be lied to and told that we are weak. We will not be divided and we will not back down. That fist is a symbol that we are connected and that we are powerful. It's a symbol that we hold true to our vision of a healthy and just world and that we are building the self empowering movement to make it happen. All those authorities in there wanted me to think like a finger but are children are calling to us to think like a fist. And we know that now I'll have to go prison, we know that now that is the reality. But that's just the job that I have to do. That's the role that I face. Many before me have gone to jail for justice and if we are going to achieve our vision many after me will have to join me as well. No one ever told us that this battle would be easy. No one ever told us that we wouldn't have to make sacrifices. We knew that when we started this fight. Every wave on the ocean that has ever risen up and refused to lay back down has been dashed on the shore, but it is the very purpose of a wave to rise up, because once it rises up above the horizon it finally has the perspective to see that it's not just a wave, that it's a part of a mighty ocean. And the sharpest rock on the wildest shore can never break that ocean apart, they can never wear that ocean down, because it's the ocean that shapes the shore.That's what we're starting to do here today. That's what we're starting to do here this week. With wave after wave after wave crashing against that shore, we shape it to our vision. Thank you all for being a part of that.



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