Converge on Salt Lake City to put Climate Change on Trial: March 15-18

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February 8, 2010 by tristan savage

This is the new call to action to support Tim DeChristopher and the global movement for climate justice.  Sign up to help and donate what money you can; climate disruption is one of those crises that will truly prove we are all kin, showing that we are all capable of suffering the consequences of each others’ actions, and that our destinies are tied together.

[The following was co-written by Naomi Klein, author of #1 NYT bestseller The Shock Doctrine, Terry Tempest Williams, world renowned wildlife author, Bill Mckibben, founter of 350.org and author of The End Of Nature, and Dr. James Hansen, author of Storms of my Grandchildren, and who is regarded as the world’s leading climatologist. All recognize the trial of Tim DeChristopher to be a turning point in the climate movement.]

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 climatetrial.com, 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, climatetrial.com 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 thoughts on “Converge on Salt Lake City to put Climate Change on Trial: March 15-18

  1. fishstilldie says:

    WOOOOOOT! I think I might be in Utah for this!

  2. 4854derrida says:

    Hello

    I’ve recently uploaded two rare interviews with the Catholic activist Dorothy Day. One was made for the Christophers [1971]–i.e., Christopher Closeup– and the other for WCVB-TV Boston [1974].

    Day had begun her service to the poor in New York City during the Depression with Peter Maurin, and it continued until her death in 1980. Their dedication to administering to the homeless, elderly, and disenfranchised continues with Catholic Worker homes in many parts of the world.

    Please post or announce the availability of these videos for those who may be interested in hearing this remarkable lay minister.

    They may be located here:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/4854derrida

    Thank you

    Dean Taylor

  3. Joseph says:

    Having financial and legal difficulties of my own right now, I won’t be attending. But I will definitely be sending my best thoughts and wishes. What Tim DeChristopher did was courageous and brilliant. I definitely hope this protest lets the powers that be know that Tim needs to be released and that trying to convict him with bogus laws is just tyrannical, as well as ridiculous! I also hope it lets those same powers know that lip service to change is not enough, we need to see changes in policy.

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