Saturday, March 6, 2010

Activist Call Out: We Must Stand with Tim DeChristopher

Note: This is an urgent call and should have been posted much earlier - my fault,  but there is still time to be part of the action if you want to get involved and we should all be.

By Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben, Huffington Post, February 8, 2010

The climate movement is at a turning point. Copenhagen failed to produce a meaningful binding agreement. The Senate's proposed climate legislation doesn't come close to solving the crisis and even that weak measure appears stalled. Climate change denialists, meanwhile, are in a celebratory mood, with far too many ill-informed citizens falling for their aggressive misinformation campaign.
It's time for the movement that had so much momentum in the lead up to Copenhagen to go on the offensive once again. We see the trial of Tim DeChristopher as just such an opportunity. What follows is a joint statement we helped draft, along with fellow author Terry Tempest Williams and world-renowned climatologist Dr. James Hansen. If you agree, please help us spread the word.

Dear Friends,

The epic fight to ward off global warming and transform the energy system that is at the core of our planet’s economy takes many forms: huge global days of action, giant international conferences like the one that just failed in Copenhagen, small gestures in the homes of countless people.
But there are a few signal moments, and one comes next month, when the federal government puts Tim DeChristopher on trial in Salt Lake City. Tim—“Bidder 70”– pulled off one of the most creative protests against our runaway energy policy in years: he bid for the oil and gas leases on several parcels of federal land even though he had no money to pay for them, thus upending the auction. The government calls that “violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act” and thinks he should spend ten years in jail for the crime; we call it a noble act, a profound gesture made on behalf of all of us and of the future.
Tim’s action drew national attention to the fact that the Bush Administration spent its dying days in office handing out a last round of favors to the oil and gas industry. After investigating irregularities in the auction, the Obama Administration took many of the leases off the table, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar criticizing the process as “a headlong rush.” And yet that same Administration is choosing to prosecute the young man who blew the whistle on this corrupt process.
We cannot let this stand. When Tim disrupted the auction, he did so in the fine tradition of non-violent civil disobedience that changed so many unjust laws in this country’s past. Tim’s upcoming trial is an occasion to raise the alarm once more about the peril our planet faces. The situation is still fluid—the trial date has just been set, and local supporters are making plans for how to mark the three-day proceedings. But they are asking people around the country to flood into Salt Lake City in mid-March. If you come, there will be ample opportunity for both legal protest and civil disobedience. For example:
  • Outside the courthouse, there will be a mock trial, with experts like NASA’s Jim Hansen providing the facts that should be heard inside the chambers. We don’t want Tim on trial—we want global warming on the stand.
  • Demonstrators will be using the time-honored tactics of civil disobedience to make their voices heard outside the courthouse in an effort to prevent “business as usual”—it’s business as usual that’s wrecking the earth.
  • There will be evening concerts and gatherings, including a “mini-summit” to share ideas on how the climate movement should proceed in the years ahead. This is a people’s movement that draws power from around the globe; for a few days its headquarters will be Salt Lake City.
You can get the most up-to-date news at, including schedules for non-violence training, and information about legal representation. If you’re coming, bring not only your passion but also your creativity—we need lots of art and music to help make the point that we won’t sit idly by while the government tries to scare the environmental movement into meek cooperation. This kind of trial is nothing but intimidation—and the best answers to intimidation are joy and resolve. That’s what we’ll need in Utah.
We know it’s short notice. Some of us won’t be able to make it to Utah because we have other commitments or are limiting travel, and if you’re in the same situation, will also have details of solidarity actions in other parts of the country. If you can contribute money to help make the week’s events possible, click here. But more than your money we need your body, your brains, and your heart. In a landscape of little water, where redrock canyons rise upward like praying hands, we can offer our solidarity to the wild: wild lands and wild hearts. Tim DeChristopher deserves and needs our physical and spiritual support in the name of a just and vibrant community.

Thank you for standing with us,
Naomi Klein,
Bill McKibben,
Terry Tempest Williams
Dr. James Hansen


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  3. As much as I love the environment - clear skies, clean water, and fresh air - I wouldn't lift a finger to help Tim De Christopher or any other New World Order lackey who'll prostitute themselves for illegitimate scientific funding. The only thing factual about this issue is that the politicians are drooling over the inevitable ignorant outcome.

    Instead of believing everything they tell you, why not look at the information for yourself? The majority of the world's problems have always boiled down to human intellectual laziness and ill gotten or misplaced trust.

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  5. I'm not sure that I'd be willing to follow Tim. I really would like to know more about him and his policies.