A Special Message from Tim

Despite the obvious threats we face as activists and as a civilization, I feel deeply grateful for where my life is at right now. In addition to my personal fulfillment, Im grateful for the ability to do meaningful work as an activist struggling for a better world. Nearly everything that defines my life today can be traced back to that fateful act of civil disobedience I took in 2008. And the main reason that this has been such a positive and joyful path was the resolute support I received from thousands of people across the country.

When I stuck my neck out, countless people stepped up to lend their support physically, morally, and financially. They gave me the courage to make the most of the opportunity I had, and they generously donated to make sure I had the resources to sustain the struggle. Many of you who are reading this were probably among the folks who gave your time, money, and emotional energy. 

Now Im working with a group of activists who have also stuck their neck out in a bold way by shutting down all five of the tar sands pipelines flowing into the US from Canada. When folks in Standing Rock called for solidarity actions in October, this group went on the offensive against the pipeline companies that were assaulting our brothers and sisters. In addition to keeping about 700,000 gallons of tar sands oil in the ground, their peaceful and well planned action expanded the boundaries of climate resistance, knowing that they would face serious consequences. Eight of the people involved in that action are facing criminal charges more serious than I faced for disrupting the BLM oil and gas auction, and they could spend decades in prison for their nonviolent act.

My friend Ken Ward, with whom I started the Climate Disobedience Center, turned the valve in Washington to stop the flow of tar sands for the day. He will be the first of the group to go to trial, currently scheduled to begin on January 30th, 2017. Ken has been working to stop climate change for a long time. I started working with him after he used a lobster boat in 2013 to block a shipment of West Virginia coal from being delivered to Brayton Point coal fired power plant. He took that case to trial and had the amazing outcome of the prosecutor dropping the charges and expressing his solidarity with their action. Ken is now ready to take this case to trial, but he needs support.

The Climate Disobedience Center is spearheading support for Ken and all the other brave activists who are facing prosecution for this action. This could be a long journey through the courts and the prison system for Ken and the others, and we want to show them that they have committed and sustained support through it all. Thats why Im asking you to become a sustaining donor to the Climate Disobedience Center.

We have hired lawyers for them in four different states, so it will take some serious financial support to see them through the whole process. But I know from experience that if they end up serving time in prison, more than anything they will need to know that they are not alone and that their actions were not in vain. Your support will make a world of difference for them at the most difficult parts of their journey.

We are not naive about the political landscape we are entering, or about the likelihood that organizations like ours that foster dissent will face unprecedented repression. We could be shut down and our assets seized, but our only real asset is a network of relationships with people that are willing to support bold activism for climate justice. Thats why rather than asking for a big one time donation, Im asking you to become a sustaining monthly donorIf you are able to donate $100, sign up to be a sustaining donor at $10 a month instead. And then if they take us down, step up and keep supporting each other in doing the brave and loving work of defending a livable future.

Let's keep building a strong, loving resistance together,

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The Morning After

I woke up this morning feeling like I got hit by a truck, which is at least partially due to the fact that I got hit by a truck last night. 


When I was coming into Providence on the commuter rail around 9:45, things were already looking bad.  Trump was pulling ahead in Florida and North Carolina, and it was beginning to look like he could actually win.  I got on my bike and started riding home.  As I rode past a gas station on North Main St, a black Dodge Ram suddenly pulled out of the parking lot and into my right hip, sending me sprawling onto the pavement.  I hopped up and dragged the bike to the curb. I immediately sat down and leaned against a telephone pole while I figured out what just happened.

My shoulder hurt, as did my hip, but I felt right away that I was basically fine.  I never saw him coming until the last moment.  At the moment the truck hit me, I remember having a thought along the lines of, “Well, this is really happening. I figured this might happen at some point.” I was wearing a helmet and and lights in the front and the back, as well as a reflective leg cuff on my right ankle, but I found myself immediately thinking about the things I could have done differently. In a minute or two the adrenaline wore off, and I felt pretty calm.

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Breaking: Tar Sands Pipeline Shut Down

For Immediate Release: To avert climate catastrophe, activists shut down 5 pipelines bringing Tar Sands Oil into the U.S, in Solidarity with Standing Rock 
October 11th 2016

Press Contact: Afrin Sopariwala 408.598.7656


This morning, by 7:30 PST, 5 activists have successfully shut down 5 pipelines across the United States deliverying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock. Activists employed manual safety valves, calling on President Obama to use emergency powers to keep the pipelines closed and mobilize for the extraordinary shift away from fossil fuels now required to avert catastrophe. 

192 nations have agreed that average global temperature should not increase 1.5C° above baseline in order to avert climate change cataclysm. This objective cannot be met, and any hope of keeping temperature below even 2.0°C depends on a total ban on new fossil fuel extractions and an immediate end to oil sands and coal use. In the absence of any political leadership or legal mechanisms for accomplishing this, these individuals feel duty bound to halt the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels by personal direct action. 

Ken Ward, 59, of Corbette OR said, "There is no plan of action, policy or strategy being advanced now by any political leader or environmental organization playing by the rules that does anything but acquiesce to ruin. Our only hope is to step outside polite conversation and put our bodies in the way. We must shut it down, starting with the most immediate threats -- oil sands fuels and coal."

Emily Johnston, 50, of Seattle WA said, "For years we’ve tried the legal, incremental, reasonable methods, and they haven’t been enough; without a radical shift in our relationship to Earth, all that we love will disappear. My fear of that possibility is far greater than my fear of jail. My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life."

Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA said "Like mothers everywhere, I act from a deep love that extends to all children and young people, and all living beings on this planet.  I have signed hundreds of petitions, testified at dozens of hearings, met with most of my political representatives at every level, to very little avail. I have come to believe that our current economic and political system is a death sentence to life on earth, and that I must do everything in my power to replace these systems with cooperative, just, equitable and love-centered ways of living together. This is my act of love."

Michael Foster, 52 of Seattle WA said, "I am here to generate action that wakes people up to the reality of what we are doing to life as we know it. All of our climate victories are meaningless if we don’t stop extracting oil, coal and gas now."

Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, OR said, "Because of the climate change emergency, because governments and corporations have for decades increased fossil fuel extraction and carbon emissions when instead we must dramatically reduce carbon emissions; I am committed to the moral necessity of participating in nonviolent direct action to protect life." 

More words from the activists here: http://www.shutitdown.today/activist_bios

WHERE. Enbridge line 4 and 67, Leonard, MN;  TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, Walhalla, ND;  Spectra Energy’s Express pipeline, Coal Banks Landing, MT; Kinder-Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline, Anacortes, WA. 

WHO. Climate Direct Action is Emily Johnson, 50 and Michael Foster, 52, of Seattle, WA, Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA, Ken Ward, 59, of Corbett, OR, and Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, Oregon, with the support of Climate Disobedience Action Fund.

Livestream videos and photos available on our Facebook Page and www.shutitdown.today

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Court Appearance and Planning for Mass Grave 6 Trial

I appeared in court in West Roxbury, MA today with my #‎MassGrave6 codefendants Nora Collins, Karenna Gore, Dave Publow, Sophia Wilansky and Callista Womick.

All six of us continue to refuse a plea bargain and are eager to take our case to a jury trial. Our next court appearance date has been set for September 6th.

Personally, I'm excited for a jury trial in which everyday people can decide if our actions were justified after hearing all the evidence of our government's inability to stop Spectra's assault against both West Roxbury and our global climate. Every elected official representing West Roxbury opposed this project, but they have been unable to stop it, so this is a clear case where civil disobedience is necessary to protect our communities.

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Please Welcome Our New Music Director Bryan Cahall


Since the beginning days of Peaceful Uprising, music was a critical part of our organizing.  At the most stressful juncture of organizing around my trial, we decided that we were just going to have some people singing outside the courthouse the whole time.  Anything else would be bonus, but the core would be singing.  So we started having song rehearsals instead of planning meetings.  That practice of singing together brought us together and inspired us to do more than just have a few folks singing outside the courthouse.  By the time of the trial there were nearly 3000 people singing in the street, with marches and trainings as well.  

The power of music in movements seemed magic to me.  Singing together literally brings us into harmony and reminds us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.  That kind of empowerment is essential believing that we are powerful enough to challenge huge corporations and institutions.  Music gets us out of our analytical heads and helps us process the powerful emotions like fear, joy, anger and hope that are inescapable in this work.  Music reminds us of our values and principles while we fight for justice.  Perhaps that’s why music has been the soul of so many social movements in our history.

But when I left Utah, I realized that the music in Peaceful Uprising didn’t actually happen magically.  It happened because people with real musical talent like Lauren Wood, Ashley Anderson and Flora Bernard put in a lot of work to make it happen.  When I tried to start a protest choir in Cambridge, folks would ask me things like, “What key is this song in?”, and I had no idea what they were talking about.  Well, guess what?  That effort quickly fell apart.  Music in movements might feel like magic, but it turns out it takes skill and support just like all the other pieces of a movement.  

That’s why I’m so excited that singer/songwriter Bryan Cahall will be joining me as my new music director.  I first met Bryan after his powerful performance at Appalachia Rising in 2010. 

We brought his song “Arise” back to our community in Utah, and a few months later thousands were singing it in the streets.  

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Grief and Resistance: The Mass Grave Pipeline Action

In my trainings and workshops with activists, I always tell folks that we are most powerful when we are expressing our deepest personal truths.  This week I took action to express the grief that has been weighing on my heart ever since I read about Pakistan digging mass graves in anticipation of their climate change induced heat waves last month.  Even as someone who reads a lot of heartbreaking stories about climate change, the fact that we have now entered the age of anticipatory mass graves broke my heart in a whole new way.

When I saw the pictures of the long trench they dug as that mass grave, I realized it looked just like the trench that Spectra is digging through the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston for a new high pressure fracked gas pipeline.  I felt powerfully called to connect the dots between those two trenches and climb into the one in Boston to reflect on this new age of anticipatory mass graves.  

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Press Release: Symbolic Climate Mass Grave Funeral to #StopSpectra

The following press release is from the June 29th action in West Roxbury, Boston, MA resulting in 23 arrests including Tim DeChristopher and Karenna Gore. Additional photos for media use are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHskDcoQPY.



23 total arrested, including Karrena Gore and Tim DeChristopher

West Roxbury, MA – 12 faith leaders and 11 others were arrested this afternoon [June 29, 2016] while peacefully blocking construction of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. Buddhist, Jewish, Protestant, and Unitarian clergy led a climate mass graves funeral, featuring eulogies, prayers, and mourning. After the funeral, some clergy and other resisters lay on the side of the trench, halting construction. Others got into the trench and lay down to simulate those who died this month from deadly heat waves in Pakistan and India and were buried in mass graves.

The action called attention to how the West Roxbury Lateral, like other new fossil fuel infrastructure, further locks us into deadly global climate change. As more studies point to the high rates of leaked methane from fracking and gas pipelines, the climate movement has doubled down on resistance to new fracked gas projects.

Among those lying in the trench was Karenna Gore, daughter of Vice President Al Gore and director of the Center for Earth Ethics at the Union Theological Seminary. She is the mother of three and came to join the action from her home in New York City.

Also lying in the trench was Tim DeChristopher, the climate activist who became famous as Bidder 70 when he disrupted a government oil and gas lease auction by posing as a buyer in the sale during 2008. He served 21 months in federal prison and his probation ended this past April.

This was his first act of civil disobedience since 2008.


“This is the age of anticipatory mass graves, and this pipeline trench is our anticipatory mass grave,” said Tim during a speech before being arrested.

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We Have Entered the Age of Anticipatory Mass Graves

The video above features Tim DeChristopher's words from today's #StopSpectra action in West Roxbury, MA. Tim, area clergy and others took action to focus attention on the fact that Spectra's new MASS fracked gas pipelines will lead to MASS graves abroad due to climate change and rising temperatures. This afternoon Tim and others climbed into Spectra's trenches and were later arrested. See Resist the West Roxbury Pipeline for details.  We'll be sharing more on this action once Tim is released.

"This is not just a pipeline trench. What they are digging is a mass grave, because in this age of anticipatory mass graves, we know that every new fossil fuel development that commits us to burning fossil fuels for decades, when we put in this infrastructure, we know that every new fossil fuel infrastructure will lead to another mass grave somewhere in the world."

- Tim DeChristopher

This is DeChristopher's first act of civil disobedience resulting in arrest following his notable "Bidder 70" action, arrest, nearly 2 year imprisonment, and 3 years of probation which ended this Spring.


Video above by Kori Feener. Thanks for capturing the action!


Full resolution photos for media use here.

Full resolution photos for media use here. Slideshow below.


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PRESS RELEASE: Albany, NY - Activists Successfully Blockade Bomb Train

Press release on yesterday's Break Free Albany action. For additional press releases see the Albany 2016 media page.  Twitter coverage at @BanBombTrains #Albany2016 #BreakFree2016.

***Activists Successfully Blockade Bomb Train***

Contact: Aly JohnsonKurts
(802) 595-9593

ln an action that caught county officials off guard, two climbers suspended themselves from train tracks on a railroad bridge that crosses the Watervliet Reservoir. They successfully blockaded a train from North Dakota carrying fracked crude oil, also known as a “bomb train” because of its explosive nature.

The climbers and climate activists – Marissa Shea and Maeve McBride – had climb lines that crossed the tracks in a way which would cause them to fall and be injured if a train were to run over their ropes. Their lives were literally on the line.

The activists describe their efforts as enforcing the public trust doctrine which requires that vital natural resources, in this case the atmosphere, on which human wel being depend must be cared for by our own governments for the benefit of present and future generations.

"The global climate system, on which every human depends, is no longer stable because our governments have utterly failed us. So now, for our survival, we will act on climate ourselves," said Marissa Shea.

The activists demand that the business as usual economy, which is currently reliant on fossil fuels,must be transformed into a new fossil free economy that is just and equitable, a just transition.

"Most of my family lives within a few miles of where the bomb trains travel. This is personal and global. Their lives are at risk and millions of lives are at risk with rising seas, forest fires, violent storms, and all the havoc that global warming brings," said Maeve McBride, who grew up in Troy."Today I felt called to directly obstruct the fossil fuel industry joining thousands of others around the world.

"Maeve, Marissa, and 3 of their support team were arrested after successfully stopping the train. This action is a part of an escalation called Break Free, where organizations across the world are taking action in response to rapidly unfolding climate change.

Break Free Albany is organized by a volunteer coalition of over 100 groups – including global groups such as 350.org, statewide organizations like Citizen Action of NY, and local community organizations like A Village, Inc. in the South End of Albany.


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PRESS RELEASE: Thousands Converged in Albany to Blockade Bomb Trains

Press release on Break Free Albany action March 14, 2016. For additional press releases see the Albany 2016 media page.  Twitter coverage at @BanBombTrains #Albany2016 #BreakFree2016.

Update 5/15/16  Press Release: Albany, NY - Activists Successfully Blockade Bomb Train

***Thousands Converged in Albany to Blockade Bomb Trains***
Contact: Aly Johnson-Kurts
Albany, NY Over 1,500 people gathered this morning at Lincoln Park in Albany to call for an end to fossil fuel industry violations of community health and safety. From Lincoln Park, the rally-goers split into two groups, with nearly 500 people marching to the Ezra Prentice Homes affordable housing community, which sits just feet from the tracks that run the oil-by-rail “bomb trains”, and over 1,000 marching to blockade the Port of Albany rail tracks.
Another crew of activists successfully blockaded a bomb train going to the Port of Albany from North Dakota by suspending themselves such that if a train were to pass it would cut their ropes, which were crossed on the tracks, causing them to fall. Five people were arrested. All of the actions were part of the global movement against fossil fuels called “Break Free”, which includes over 20 actions on 6 continents. The Albany actions were organized by a coalition of over 100 groups.
Speakers at the Lincoln Park rally included emcee Marc Johnson, an organizer of Break Free and a third generation pastor at the Greater St. John’s Church of God In Christ in the South End of Albany, Albany Common Councilmember Vivian Kornegay, who represents the Ezra Prentice Homes and other affected communities in Ward 1, and Iris Marie Bloom, a long-time anti-fracking advocate with the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline. The speakers highlighted the environmental racism of the siting of the trains, as the majority of those in the half-mile last zone of the tracks are Black and Brown low-income communities of color.
“We ALL deserve clean water, we ALL deserve clean air,” said Marc Johnson, speaking to the disproportionate impact on people of color. Ariela Perez-Wallach, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Upstate NY also spoke to the issue of environmental racism, saying, “Black Lives Matter stands against all forms of racism, especially environmental racism, which has stolen our health and many times our lives. We cannot afford to wait: white supremacy and climate change operate hand in hand.”
Miss Charlene Benton, President of the Ezra Prentice Homes Tenants’ Association said, “It’s really, really time that this unification to be going on. And that is the most important thing that I think we’ll get out of this. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to back down. We’re going to stand up. And we’re going to fight together. Until we win. And we can’t lose. It’s a long struggle, but I think that we are making some progress. We’re not going to be cremated without permission.”
The organizers called for an end to to all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines, power plants, compressor stations, and storage tanks. This includes the Pilgrim Pipelines, which, if built, would increase bomb train traffic into Albany. To keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees celsius, it is necessary to keep 80-90% of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
Additionally, the organizers are calling for a just transition away from fossil fuel energy, where no worker is left behind. Retraining must be provided for workers – for example, oil and gas pipeline workers could go to work repairing the nation’s crumbling water pipeline infrastructure, and oil rail workers could be employed in the growing passenger rail industry.

Break Free Albany is organized by a volunteer coalition of over 100 groups – including global groups such as 350.org, statewide organizations like Citizen Action of NY, and local community organizations like A Village, Inc. in the South End of Albany.


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