The Climate Disobedience Center exists to support a growing community of climate dissidents who take the risk of acting commensurate with the scale and urgency of the crisis.
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I’m writing today to make sure you’ve heard the news about a necessity defense climate trial in Cortlandt, New York where six defendants have been granted a necessity defense by Judge Kimberly Ragazzo. Although the Westchester District Attorney’s office reduced charges to a level that denies these pipeline fighters a jury trial, their case is moving forward in a bench trial (in which the judge makes the ruling on guilt or innocence).
I spent spent the last two and a half days in preparation and in court with the defendants and their supporters, and this necessity defense trial is unfolding in some fascinating and promising ways.
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Last week Jay and Marla participated in a webcast that covered an overview of the climate necessity defense, a discussion of its uses for movement organizing, and an update on current cases. Kelsey Skaggs from the Climate Defense Project and Valve Turner Ben Joldersma also participated in the discussion. Thanks to Stand.Earth for hosting this important conversation.
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We are delighted to announce that Moona Cancino is the latest CDC Fellow!
Moona is engaging in the efforts to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline which both run through the Commonwealth of Virginia. As a cancer survivor and a mother, Moona found herself needing to develop practices that heal her mind, body and spirit. It is these practices which translate into powerful activism without burning us out on the grief and anger that can come with finding a movement that sometimes holds more sadness than joy. She realized that her spirituality only was meaningful if it was taken out into the world. In 2016 Moona trained with the Satyagraha Institute and spent a month at Standing Rock. In addition to her local work in Virginia, she is working with others across the country to build a decentralized network of heart-centered nonviolence practitioners working at the intersection of climate justice and racial healing. Moona lives with her son at The Woodfolk Community, an intentional community in Charlottesville.
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Big and exciting news! Earlier today (March 27) 13 defendants went into Boston’s West Roxbury District courthouse to answer charges related to their arrests as part of a sustained campaign to block construction on the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline that included 198 arrests from October 2015 through September 2016. Although the prosecutor moved to reduce the charges from misdemeanor criminal offenses to civil infractions — the equivalent of a parking ticket, Judge Mary Ann Driscoll allowed each defendant testify briefly on the necessity of their actions.
The defendants collectively presented a powerful and comprehensive argument for why it was necessary to engage in civil disobedience to stop the imminent local and global harms of this fracked gas pipeline. Following their testimony, the judge ruled that the defendants’ actions were necessary in order prevent a greater harm.
While defendants were still denied a jury trial and the possibility of a full necessity defense, this is the first time that defendants were acquitted by a U.S. judge based on climate necessity. Since then the defendants have had a celebratory lunch together, and met to talk about next steps and future struggles.
We’ll have audio from the courtroom as soon as it’s available (in a few days), but in the meantime Climate Disobedience Center would love your help sharing this news:
Join us tomorrow at 7pm at the JP Forum in Boston, or watch the live stream online! Invite your friends and family to join us and learn more.
Share this Facebook live video of all the defendants and their legal team on the steps of the courthouse just after the verdict.
- Or Share this Twitter video about the same.
If you're looking for more background info, you can explore the defendants and the campaign below on our West Roxbury page. Read the press release from before the verdict on the next page and find Media coverage of the verdict here.
Want even more info to share with your social networks? Try our partner pack for allied organizations and individuals who want to spread the word!
- Join us tomorrow at 7pm at the JP Forum in Boston, or watch the live stream online! Invite your friends and family to join us and learn more.
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In the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, Spectra Energy was building a fracked-gas pipeline off of their existing AIM pipeline. Beginning October 7, 2015, Resist The Pipeline began a campaign of climate disobedience, getting in the way of active pipeline construction. Climate Disobedience Center founder Marla Marcum provided training, logistical and jail support for Resist the Pipeline.
The campaign grew, and eventually 198 people were arrested over the course of a year. The tactics escalated as well, beginning with just a few individuals in front of equipment and ending with large days of mass occupation, and other more disruptive actions.
13 activists from the campaign, including 6 who participated in the June 29 "Mass Graves" action pictured above are taking their defense to trial. Their cases are currently scheduled for trial March 27th. The activists are committed to mounting a climate necessity defense, arguing that they had no reasonable alternative to putting themselves in the path of the pipeline's construction. If the jury is allowed to decide whether the defendants' actions were necessary in order to prevent a greater harm, we'll have a legal precedent that communities across the country can use in their own resistance to pipelines and other infrastructure
Sign on here to support the West Roxbury Defendants, and we'll send you updates about their trial, and more opportunities to learn about their fight and landmark date with justice.
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The title of Gandhi's autobiography is "The Story of My Experiments with Truth." While the book is more focused on his own personal habits and spiritual disciplines rather than his political and strategic thoughts on satyagraha, the idea is one that motivated a group to gather in Virginia and North Carolina over the last three weeks.
Three of us from the Climate Disobedience Center joined around two dozen activists from across the US to see if we might experiment with a new expression of the truth in the climate fight. At the invitation of local activists, we visited with communities fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and listened to those who were on the frontlines of this fight talk about this massive new project to export fracked gas from West Virginia. And at their invitation on Friday February 2nd, we occupied the North Carolina Governor's office.