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, I’m 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 I’m 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. That’s why I’m 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. That’s why rather than asking for a big one time donation, I’m asking you to become a sustaining monthly donor. If 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,