Help us keep fossil fuels in the ground!
We are calling on President Obama to issue an executive order preventing America’s public lands and waters from being auctioned off to oil, gas, and coal companies.
President Obama only has 11 months to secure his climate legacy.
Watch this new 3-minute video to find out how and why -- and then share with your friends to build the power of this rapidly growing movement!
Tim DeChristopher speaks at the end of the video before President Obama's final words.
Sign the Petition Calling for President Obama to Keep Fossil Fuels Safely In The Ground
Click to Tweet: For @POTUS to secure his climate legacy, he must #KeepItInTheGround. A new video shows why: http://ran.org/keepitintheground via @DeChristopher
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Join the March 23rd Superdome Action
During this action people will encircle the Superdome and call for an end to new drilling and new leases. This action will take place during the Department of the Interior's auction of 43 million acres of our beloved Gulf of Mexico.
(Tempest Exploration opens for business)
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2016
Valerie Love, email@example.com, 510-274-9713
Amanda Starbuck, firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 659-0510
Jason Kowalski, email@example.com, 202.670.5345
Marissa Knodel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 222-0729
Hilary Lewis, email@example.com, 202-887-1872 x. 101
Lesley Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-821-3882
Shelley Silbert, email@example.com, 970-385-9577
As Part of BLM Fossil Fuel Auction Protest, Author Terry Tempest Williams Buys Parcels
Large-Scale Protest and Activism by Prominent Author Ups the Ante on “Keep it in the Ground” Activism
This morning, over 100 local activists protested at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and gas lease auction in Utah and author and activist Terry Tempest Williams attended and purchased several parcels totaling 1,751 acres in Grand County, Utah through a company she formed called Tempest Exploration. The group of activists, representing a broad-reaching alliance of community members, packed and overflowed the auction room. They rallied and marched outside, and then came into the auction, spontaneously singing songs as the parcels were auctioned off until they were forced to leave.
After Williams bought up parcels at $1.50/acre, she was asked by a BLM official if this was “a legitimate bid for energy development.”
“Yes,” she replied. “You can’t define what energy is for us. Our energy development is fueling a movement. Keep it in the ground.”
Today’s protest and Williams’ actions are yet another sign of the growing energy and momentum of the “Keep It in the Ground” movement calling on President Obama to define his climate legacy by stopping new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans.
In recent months, local citizens and activists in Utah and in states across the country have protested outside BLM fossil fuel auctions. Since November, in response to protests, the Obama Administration has canceled oil and gas leasing auctions in Utah, Montana, and Washington, DC, and this strategy has already gained the attention of leaders in Congress, in the Obama Administration, and on the 2016 campaign trail.
“The protests of today's auction are another sign that the days of un-resisted fossil fuel development are over,” said Tim DeChristopher, who was arrested and imprisoned for 21 months for disrupting a BLM auction in 2008. “The public is clearly against the leasing of fossil fuels on public lands, and they are charting a path for political leaders to follow.”
“Terry Tempest Williams is one of the West's most passionate and eloquent voices for wildness and the sublime importance of unspoiled open spaces,” said Amanda Starbuck, Climate and Energy Program Director at Rainforest Action Network. “Today, she has taken a powerful stand for all of us by helping to expose the broken and outdated system of leasing our public lands to dirty energy companies for pennies on the dollar. Rainforest Action Network offers our full support to Terry's bold call to keep fossil fuels in the ground in Utah and beyond.”
“The West—and the planet—have no greater champion than Terry Tempest Williams, in her writing, and as today, in her many actions. She’s been decades ahead of the rest of us in her fight for a stable Earth,” said Bill McKibben, 350.org Co-Founder.
“Citizens are our last line of defense against the fossil fuel industry. We salute Terry Tempest Williams for protecting public lands in Utah today, and the citizens of Utah who are speaking out for our health and climate,” said Jennifer Krill, executive director of Earthworks. “President Obama, they are sending a message to you: keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
“All of us at Friends of the Earth commend Terry Tempest Williams for her brave action to protect our public lands from Fossil Fuel Empires and keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said Marissa Knodel, Climate Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “The lands being auctioned today belong to all of us and should not be sacrificed for the profits of the oil and gas industry. Williams and the over 100 activists who protested today’s oil and gas auction demonstrated the growing energy of the Keep It in the Ground movement in Utah and across the country. The movement will not stop until our publicly owned fossil fuels are kept in the ground for good.”
“As one of the activists removed from Tuesday’s auction, I applaud Terry Tempest Williams’ action to buy up lease parcels,” said Valerie Love of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We have a right to bear witness as the federal government auctions off our climate future by leasing public lands and fossil fuels belonging to all of us. We will continue to rally, sing and protest until President Obama halts these auctions once and for all.”
“Today we saw people spontaneously seize power and take action together. The BLM can expect more of this as long as they continue to jeopardize our future by auctioning off our health and climate stability,” said Sarah Stock of Canyon Country Rising Tide.
“Today our local community flexed our power through spontaneous singing and connected to a global resistance against fossil fuels. Like the rivers we protect, this movement will continue to connect our struggles until we are able to fully recognize how very powerful people are compared to this industry bent on destroying us,” said Lauren Wood, with the Riverkeeper Affiliate, Living Rivers.
“Today we witnessed a groundswell of solidarity from a broad spectrum of local organizers coming together to fight for a livable future. Today we also witnessed thousands of acres of land being sold to the oil and gas industry without the consent of the public. Sometimes we have to stop and name the sorrows, trace them to their root. The Women's Congress for Future Generations calls on those fighting for a livable future to join us in visiting the land, to bear witness, to grieve. Our grief will serve as a compass for the hard, important work ahead to Keep It In The Ground,” said Kaitlin Butler, Program Director with Science and Environmental Health Network and Women's Congress for Future Generations.
“Today's heroic action by Ms. Williams effectively transformed a public process designed to enrich private corporations by giving them cheap access to public resources into one that inspires grassroots action on climate,” said Donna Lisenby, Clean & Safe Energy Campaign Manager with Waterkeeper Alliance. “Waterkeeper Alliance salutes Ms. Williams and all of the activists at the fossil fuel auction in Utah today. Together we will continue to pressure the Obama administration to make good on the U.S. Paris commitments by keeping U.S. fossil fuels in the ground.”
“We cannot continue selling our children and grandchildren’s future to the fossil fuel companies. We stand with Terry Tempest Williams in protest of new energy lease sales on public lands,” said Shelley Silbert, Executive Director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness. “Our Utah Greater Wasatch chapter joined in unison with Terry today to say ‘Keep it in the Ground’ – public lands need to be the solution to climate change, not the problem.”
Please join us in demanding Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura Martin stop prosecuting citizens for reporting police misconduct. CLICK HERE to send a letter calling for an end to this intimidation. For more background, see post below by Rising Tide North America. ~ Tim
An anti-fracking activist in Maryland is being prosecuted for filing a police report.
Last February Heather Doyle and Carling Sothoron, activists fighting the construction of Dominion Energy’s fracked gas export terminal near Cove Point, scaled a construction crane to drop a banner reading “Dominion, go home. No gas exports. Don’t frack Maryland. Save Cove Point.” Calvert County Police responded to the protest with violence and ineptitude, risking Heather and Carling’s lives. Following their court proceedings Heather and Carling filed an official complaint. Now Heather is being prosecuted for filing a complaint about police misconduct.
Dominion Energy is pressuring police and prosecutors to intimidate opponents of their dangerous projects. (1)
For four years the community of Cove Point, Maryland has been fighting Dominion’s export facility, designed to send fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale across the globe. Residents are concerned by the health effects of the the facility, the spectre of fracking in Maryland and the possibility of a catastrophic accident.
Meanwhile Dominion Energy pays the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office to intimidate residents and activists. It’s not illegal to report police misconduct, but Calvert County is conspiring with Dominion to quell any resistance to this dangerous project.
Carling and Heather acknowledge that the police violence they experienced was a result of intentional political protest and understand that their experiences with the criminal justice system are different than those of Black, Brown, and poor folks. But we believe it is important to stand up to these ugly tactics designed to distract us and exhaust our resolve.
Love and Solidarity,
Rising Tide North America
PS - You can donate to Heather’s legal fund here.
Tim is in the San Francisco this week. In the area? We hope to see you at one of the following events. All radio interviews are streamed live via the station links below.
Tuesday, January 19th at 10am - LIVE RADIO
YOUR CALL with Rose Aguilar radio interview
KALW's 91.7FM call-in show: Politics and culture, dialogue and debate.
Join the conversation at 1-866-798-TALK
Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30pm - San Francisco
Tim DeChristopher - Fighting Fossil Fuels All the Way to Prison
Climate One at The Commonwealth Club
555 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-9824
Event Details and Tickets
Wednesday, January 20 at 7pm - San Mateo
Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo
300 E Santa Inez Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401
In Conversation on Ecological Leadership: The Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) extend an open invitation to the general public to join in conversation with climate activist, Tim DeChistopher. DeChristopher will speak at UUSM’s Beck Hall, 300 E. Santa Inez Ave, San Mateo at 7 p.m., 650-342-5946 Suggested donation: $5.
Thursday, January 21 at 6:15pm - Berkeley
Event with Students of the Starr King School for the Ministry
2441 Le Conte Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Friday, January 22 at 12pm - San Francisco, CA / Radio
The Living Room with Kris Welch radio interview
KPFA 94.1 FM
Friday, January 22 at 1pm - Berkeley, CA / Radio
Project Censored Show radio interview
Friday, January 22 at 7:30 PM - Palo Alto
Tim DeChristopher - Discussion on Ecological Leadership
Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E Charleston Rd, Palo Alto, California 94306
Saturday, Jan 23rd, 6:00 PM - San Francisco
5th Annual Dinner supporting social justice action with Tim DeChristopher
First UU Society of San Francisco
1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco
Wheelchair Accessible - Donation $20
Event Details and Tickets
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."
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.Read more
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.
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
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
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
Event Details on Sustainable NE Seattle
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.
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.
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
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