We are pleased to welcome our first Fellow to the Climate Disobedience Center!
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman is the Assistant Rabbi of Temple Sinai of Brookline, MA, a vibrant and progressive Reform congregation. She has founded a new initiative, ClergyClimateAction.org, which aims to network clergy from across faith traditions to step into leadership roles in taking bold non-violent direct action for climate justice.
I think Gary Braasch, climate change photographer and activist who died this week, had the worst job. Most of us pick and choose when to pay attention to the relentless fraying of the fabric of our world. Friends who are upbeat one day disappear and return days later, ashen, having wandered into reading the latest climate impact reports, but most of the time we can ignore this stuff, and even the scientists among us can hide within myopic datasets. Gary had no such luxury. As perhaps the world’s foremost climate impacts photographer, he spent his days capturing climate change impacts on forests, tundra, sea ice and the coral reef which claimed his life. He was a brave man, not least for refusing to turn his eye away.Read more
For nearly three days, Chiara D’Angelo hung from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger, a support vessel for Royal Dutch Shell’s summer, 2015 arctic drilling expedition, docked in Bellingham, WA, supported for part of that time by Matt Fuller. For much of that time, Matt says, “We sang to the crew and the Coast Guard through a porthole.” Chiara says they sang “Sublime, Beyonce and John Denver” and chanted, “People gonna rise like the water. We're gonna calm this crisis down. I hear the voice of my great granddaughter. She's saying shut this drilling fleet down.”Read more
I am writing to you – some old friends, some new, and some I have yet to meet – out of the blue, but these are increasingly desperate times and the easy graces of protocol must be weighed against the seriousness of the climate crisis and lateness of the hour. I keep receiving upbeat notices about two bills, the “Healthy Climate Bill” (SB1574/HB4068) and “Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan” (HB 4036), described as Oregon environmentalists’ and climate activists’ state legislative agenda, which strike me as utterly inadequate in the circumstances.Read more
For Immediate Release: Jury in Delta 5 Climate Case Splits Decision, Shares Sympathy With Protesters
Contact Ahmed Gaya 773-960-2587, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 15, 2016
Lynnwood, WA - The historic case of the 'Delta 5' train blockaders has ended with a conviction on one of the two charges. After four days of testimony from the defendants and their expert witness a Jury found the defendants not guilty of impeding the movement of a train, but guilty of trespass in the second degree.
Immediately following the verdict three of the jurors gathered in the halls of the courthouse to talk with the defendants, their legal team, and supporters. In a heartfelt conversation the jurors expressed their support for the defendants, told their lawyers they would have acquitted on all charges were necessity instructions given, agreed to work with the Climate Disobedience Center to improve further cases and signed up to attend a lobbying day on oil-trains with defendant Abby Brockway.
"The fact that the full testimony on climate and oil trains was allowed, and the jury acquitted us of blocking an oil train makes this a historic trial. Two of the jurors said they are ready to join us lobbying at the state house, I'd call that a success," said defendant Abby Brockway.
Despite the compelling testimony, the judge instructed the jury to limit their deliberations only to the question of finding whether there were violations of trespass and train laws.
"This judge refused to introduce our defense because of lack of precedent. It set me to thinking of all the bold judges who broke with precedent and advanced the cause of justice in the process, The necessity defense is something that needs a new precedent.” said Jackie Minchew of the Delta 5.
Jurors told the defendants and their lawyers that they were moved by the testimony on the climate crisis and oil train threats and that they would find ways to take action on both issues. “Welcome to the movement,” defendant Mike Lapointe told jurors as he and Brockway embraced them.
Four of the five defendants were sentenced to $550 in fines and fees and a two year probation. Mike Lapointe had his fines suspended due to his financial circumstances. The terms of their probation are that they have no further criminal violations and have no contact with BNSF property.
In 2014, Motivated by the alarming science of climate change, and by concern for the safety of those living in Washington's fossil fuel corridors, the five local activists had blockaded a train used to transport explosive Bakkan crude oil in Everett on September 2, 2014.
"The Delta 5 knew that they had to step outside of business as usual to take climate action commensurate with the crisis. The fact that Judge Howard stayed within his strict legalism and declined to take a risk of conscience reinforces how important it is for citizens to take bold moral actions. It is clear from the comments of the jurors that this was a transformational moment," said climate activist Tim DeChristopher. DeChristopher, a founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, had his own trial and conviction after disrupting a federal oil and gas auction in Utah in 2008.
Defendants are now available for comment to the media.
Contact Ahmed Gaya, 773-960-2587, email@example.com
More videos of jurors and defendants and courtroom footage being uploaded, contact Ahmed Gaya
JURORS celebrate the Delta 5 in an unprecedented climate trial!
THE VERDICT: The defendants were found not guilty on obstruction of train charges, guilty of trespass. The judge issued 90 days suspended (no jail time) and minor fines for each defendant, except LaPointe, who gets no fine.
This verdict is via Tim DeChristopher's live tweeting from court.
Jury finds all defendants not guilty of obstruction, guilty of trespass. #Delta5— Tim DeChristopher (@dechristopher) January 15, 2016
As the trial of Abby Brockway, Mike Lapointe, Patrick Mazza, Jackie Minchew, and Liz Spoerri unfolds over the next week we'll be posting media updates here.
Click below for a full list of media hits.Read more
This morning, the Woodland Park Presbyterian Church in Seattle observed Climate Justice Sunday, celebrating the Delta 5 oil train blockaders offering them a blessing on the final day before their historic trial begins in Lynnwood, Washington. This extraordinary congregation welcomed television cameras, radio reporters, and a documentary crew along with over 60 guests from other faith communities and people of no particular faith to gather and explore our shared commitments to climate justice and to supporting those who take bold action.
I was honored to join the worship team, serving as a liturgist and offering a brief reflection on what this moment in the Christian liturgical year has to teach us about power, civil disobedience, and climate justice.
The text of my reflection is pasted below. You can listen to it here (look for Jan 10 Moment for Mission – Marla Marcum...).
For Immediate Release: Historic Climate Trial Starts Monday In Lynnwood
Contact: Ahmed Gaya, firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-960-2587,
Friday, January 8th, 2016
Lynnwood, WA - Five community members who blocked the path of an explosive oil train in Everett last year will finally go to trial in Snohomish County on Monday. In a surprise ruling Judge Anthony E. Howard has allowed the defendants to argue that their actions were justified by the threat of climate change. This is the first time a U.S. court has heard a ‘necessity defense’ in a case relating to climate action.Read more