Paradigms and Barack Obama's End of New Coal Leasing on Public Land


The Obama administration has announced plans to end all new coal mining leases on public lands.  This move comes shortly after a coalition of 400+ organizations launched the Keep It in the Ground campaign in September 2015. 

Tim DeChristopher was among those speaking at the campaign kickoff in front of the White House calling for President Obama to stop issuing new leases for all fossil fuel extraction on public lands and oceans.

Tim spoke with Democracy Now! about the campaign following its launch. This interview was replayed today on Democracy Now! in their coverage of Obama's decision.

"So there’s another 450 gigatons that could be kept in the ground by ending fossil fuel leasing. So it’s a major demand, and it’s something that I think is kind of a new step for the climate movement, for a lot of the mainstream groups that were a part of this coalition and are a part of this campaign, that we’re saying we’re no longer operating from a paradigm of deviating from the status quo, or operating from the paradigm of looking at the challenge of climate change and what’s actually necessary, and we’re going to find a way to make that happen."

You can expect Tim to be speaking on this subject in his upcoming events and media appearances, as well as about today's Delta 5 verdict.


Add your reaction Share

Democracy Now: Tim DeChristopher and Abby Brockway on the Historic #Delta5 Climate Trial

This morning, before the start of today's historic Delta 5 trial, Tim DeChristopher and defendant Abby Brockway spoke with Democracy Now! about the significance of the case.  This is the first time a U.S. court has heard a ‘necessity defense’ in a case relating to climate action.

For full trial coverage visit the Climate Disobedience Center and Delta 5 trial websites. For Tim's live tweeting on the trial follow @DeChristopher.

Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,300+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9am ET:

Read more
3 reactions Share

Tim DeChristopher - January 2016 Seattle, WA Events


Tim will be in Seattle, WA January 11th through 16th supporting the Delta 5 trial with the Climate Disobedience Center team.

Tim has multiple events scheduled, including An Evening with Tim DeChristopher supporting the Delta 5, and a talk later in the week on The Power of Civil Disobedience.  If you are in the area, please join one or more of these events.  After this next week Tim heads to San Francisco.

Week of Jan 11th - Support the Delta 5 trial
Learn more about this historic climate trial at
Read the press release for this trial.

Tuesday, Jan 12th, 6:30pm - An evening with Tim DeChristopher
Discussion, dinner and fundraiser supporting the Delta 5
Bring your questions about civil disobedience, the necessity defense or the delta 5 trial for Tim. Donations support Delta 5 legal expenses.
Woodland Park Presbyterian Church
225 N 70th St, Seattle, Washington 98103
Facebook event

Wednesday, January 13th at 8:00am Pacific - Radio
Corvallis 104.3 FM • Hood River 91.9 FM • Portland 90.7 FM
The Necessity of Disobedience, with guest Tim DeChristopher
KBOO radio
interview on the Wednesday Talk Radio program.

Friday, January 15, 8 pm - Seattle
Pinchot University MBA and sustainability program students
Event Details

Saturday, Jan 16th, 7pm - The Power of Civil Disobedience: Awakening Our Spirits to the Challenge of the Climate Crisis
University Unitarian Church
6556 35th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Facebook Event
Event Details on Sustainable NE Seattle



1 reaction Share

Center for Earth Ethics Panel Discussion: Lessons from Grassroots Struggles

On  September 16,2015 I participated in the Ecology, Economy and Ethics: Mobilizing for a Just Transition conference held at Union Theological Seminary. The following is an excerpt of one of our panel conversations.  It was one of the best panels I've done, and I was particularly impressed with Lyla June Johnston. Thanks to the Center for Earth Ethics for organizing this event and making this excerpt available.


Panel Members
Henrik Grape, Church of Sweden
Tim DeChristopher, Climate Disobedience Center
Shay O'Reilly, Center for Earth Ethics
Lyla June Johnston, Nihígaal Bee Iiná/Center for Earth Ethics
Catherine Flowers, Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise/Center for Earth Ethics

The full 8 hour 45 minute archived conference video stream (including breaks) is available here.

Add your reaction Share

Let's Not Talk About Liability

This is the second guest blog post from Rev. Peggy Clarke, representing Unitarian Universalists at the Paris climate negotiations. This was written shortly before her team's meeting with the US team writing the section on Damage and Loss. Peggy is using the US's current share of annual emissions (16%) to make her point, which is even more dramatic when we look at the historical share of US emissions (27%), posted below from World Resource Institute data.  -Tim  


Three words not allowed on the table when talking with US negotiators today: Liability, Compensation or Restitution. That’s what we were told before our briefing with the team working on language related to loss and damage in the document being written at COP21. If we want to use our time wisely, we won’t utter any of those words. 

It’s an interesting stand. I remember breaking a mirror as a teenager. I slammed a door and the whole thing shattered all over the room. My mother- the focus of my fury- came running in to help. We cleaned the glass up together, but the new mirror was on me. I broke it, I buy it. I was accountable for my actions. I said I was sorry and compensated her for the mirror. I haven’t slammed a door since. 

Isn’t the US in a similar position? We created a problem. Now it’s time for us to help clean up the mess. The US is responsible for 16% of the world’s carbon emissions, second only to China with the entire European Union as a distant third. We have 30% of the population China has. So, when island nations are disappearing or drought is creating a food crisis in Africa as a result of the climate change we are creating, is it fair to say that we won’t accept any legal blame, that we won’t be held accountable for our actions?

That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m wrestling with it myself. Maybe it’s better to move on, to accept that we are where we are and let it go. Maybe the politically savvy who say, “Don’t even mention it” understand the best way to approach this multilateral, multicultural, multi-everything Agreement. We have a Congress committed to stagnation; why give them a reason to reject this document and all the good work being done here in Paris?

But something keeps nagging at me. If we create a problem and feel almost none of the consequences, what’s stopping us from doing it again? If we don’t even have to say we’re sorry after breaking the mirror, let along buy a new one, what’s to stop us from slamming doors all over town?

-Rev. Peggy Clarke

3 reactions Share

Report From Paris: Real Danger

This is the first of a series of guest blog posts from Rev. Peggy Clarke, who is in Paris representing Unitarian Universalists at the COP21 climate talks.  Peggy has been a longtime activist for environmental justice in the New York area, and she has been one of my strongest allies in trying to deepen the UU response to the climate crisis.  -Tim

I was attacked tonight. A guy tried to rob me but he didn’t get away with anything. (I’m a New Yorker after all.) I’m at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP21) in Paris. No one in my family wanted me to attend in light of the terrorist attacks this city suffered two weeks ago. It seems like a dangerous city to them. 134 people were killed in a well coordinated attack and now people all over the planet are on high alert. There are armed guards-both police and military- surrounding the conference area. Border patrol was unusually attentive and everyone is on the defensive.

There’s a way we’re poised and ready for violence. I knew what that would-be-robber was planning before he got close enough to me to try anything. I was ready. I had a plan. OK, the plan didn’t work out exactly as I’d hoped, but the point is, I got away. I’ve been taught to trust my instincts, to alter my behavior and find safe ground.

Climate change will kill more people this year than terrorists. Just the asthma death rates alone for children in urban areas give terrorism a run for its money. We don’t even have to talk about drought or storms or any of the other “natural” disasters climate change is creating. But with all those deaths, with all that destruction, we don’t see appropriately armed guards at the ready.

Thieves are easy. Terrorists are easy. They’re people we can point to. They do what they’re going to do right here in real time and we can blame them for it. Climate change requires a bending of both time and space for the consequences to become apparent. For the most part, we’re fighting an invisible demon. And what’s worse- the demon, it will turn out, is us. It’s not some bad guy out there looking to hurt the good people in here. We are the bad guys. And we’re the good guys. We are both perpetrator and victim.

I suspect that’s why we put so much energy into fighting violence. It’s cleaner. The problem is clear and you can see the results of your effort. I’m here in Paris, with or without threats to my personal safety, because I can see the danger coming and I know we have to trust our instincts, alter our behavior and find safe ground. 

-Rev. Peggy Clarke

2 reactions Share

Discussion with the Design for Social Innovation program at SVU

This Fall I had the opportunity to speak to students of SVA's Design for Social Innovation program as part of their Fall 2015 Global Guest Lecture Series. Here's the video of our discussion, hosted by Schuyler Brown.  Thanks to Schuyler and the students for a great conversation. 

Schuyler Brown is a communications advisor and trends analyst who has worked with leading global brands including Facebook, Microsoft, Sony Pictures, and Levi’s. She is Strategy Director and Founding Partner of Sightful and faculty for the Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Follow her on Twitter at @schuylerbrown.

Design for Social Innovation at SVA is the first MFA program in the rapidly growing field of social impact design. It was created as a path for designers who want to lead strategic work within business, government, or the nonprofit sector to solve social and environmental problems, and for people from other fields who want to master design as a process for driving positive social impact. More at

Add your reaction Share

Climate Movement, Don't Back Down at Paris #COP21

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

-John F. Kennedy

This morning the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, suggested that demonstrations outside the COP 21 climate negotiations in Paris should be scaled back from marches of hundreds of thousands to a safe “kettled” rally of 5,000.  The French Prime Minister has already announced that many of the “side events,” where the public gets to have a voice, are being cancelled.  Many journalists are already being excluded from the negotiations out of capacity concerns.  Obviously this repression of the public is coming in the wake of the Paris attacks that killed 129 people.  But that is not the only dynamic at play.

This attempt to keep the movement out of the streets is coming at a time when the people power of the climate movement is actually winning against the entrenched monied power of the fossil fuel industry.  The last few weeks have been unprecedented in the history of the US climate movement.  The unrelenting #ShellNo campaign convinced Shell to give up on their attempt to drill in the Arctic.  The northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline was vetoed in the face of a huge resistance campaign.  A real climate bill that would keep fossil fuels in the ground has been introduced in the Senate.  Exxon has been subpoenaed for lying about climate change, the Port Ambrose liquified natural gas export facility was vetoed, and late last night the Bureau of Land Management cancelled an oil and gas auction in Utah that faced major protest.  That momentum is what would have been on displayed in Paris and what political leaders are now trying to suppress.

 Tim Dechristopher


Read more
1 reaction Share

On Climate Victories and Obama's Climate Policy Failure

Watch Tim's recent segment on the Greenhouse (Shift | MSNBC) with Tony Dokoupil. This segment originally aired on the Greenhouse with the title "The fight to protect climate activism."
Duration: 5:53

TimDechristopher on GREENHOUSE

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Tim Dechristopher radio interview on The Forecast

On October 21, 2015 Tim was a guest on The Forecast.  You may listen to the program on their archive page. Tim's interview starts 6 minutes 30 seconds into the program.

The Forecast is a monthly show on climate change broadcast and livestreamed on WRFI, the community radio station in Ithaca, NY.  In the two years since they've been on the air, The Forecast has had terrific guests  -- Professors Mark Jacobson, Tony Ingraffea, Sandra Steingraber, Dahr Jamail, Lindsay Abrams from, Phil Aroneaunu from, and most recently, Jonathan Lunine.

Visit The Forcecast website.


1 reaction Share