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, email@example.com, 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
Long term, sustaining, mass mobilization direct action campaigns are stopping fossil fuel infrastructure projects. This isn't how I imagined this could work, but it's proving to be a powerful new arrow in the climate movement quiver. Our own Marla Marcum's experience in West Roxbury, Massachusetts points to a fruitful method that the climate movement is only beginning to appreciate.Read more
Five courageous climate dissidents are preparing to go to trial in Washington State on January 11. In September 2014 Abby Brockway, Mike Lapointe, Patrick Mazza, Jackie Minchew, and Liz Spoerri blockaded a train used to transport bakken shale oil at the Delta rail yard in Everett. They are preparing to use a necessity defense, arguing in court that their actions were necessary in the face of impending climate catastrophe. We are honored to be working with them. You can find more of their story on their website. Here is Liz Spoerri's story of her motivation for action. -JayRead more
Five individuals are going to trial January 11th for blockading an oil train in Everett, Washington in September 2014. Patrick Mazza, along with Abby Brockway, Mike Lapointe, Jackie Minchew, and Liz Spoerri are sharing their motivations and stories with us in the weeks leading up to the trial. They are preparing to use a necessity defense, arguing in court that their actions were necessary in the face of impending climate catastrophe. We at the Climate Disobedience Center are honored to be working with them and will be lifting up their voices as the trial nears. Here is Patrick's statement on his motivations for the action:Read more
I don't know any critic of the Paris climate agreement who wouldn't love to be wrong. Perhaps the consensus climate science hasn't been skewed to appear like we have time when, in fact, there isn't any left. Perhaps the emboldened political leaders of the world will overcome the immense weight of greed and lethargy. Perhaps a crisis rooted in the very marrow of the bones of our species can be neatly solved with a good cap and trade policy. Perhaps the political weight of thousands of moderate protesters is greater than it may appear.Read more
Five courageous climate dissidents are preparing to go to trial in Everett, Washington on January 11. In September 2014 Abby Brockway, Mike Lapointe, Patrick Mazza, Jackie Minchew, and Liz Spoerri blockaded a train used to transport bakken shale oil at the Delta rail yard in Everett. They are preparing to use a necessity defense, arguing in court that their actions were necessary in the face of impending climate catastrophe. We at the Climate Disobedience Center are honored to be working with them and will be lifting up their voices as the trial nears. Abby Brockway, who perched at the top of a tripod blocking the train, wrote the following statement about her motivations to act. We'll be posting the other defendants stories over the next week. You can find more of their story on their website. -JayRead more
We've just published a pamphlet on using the Necessity Defense as a legal tactic for the climate movement. The pamphlet digs into the circumstances under which one would use such a defense, what the process of using this defense would look like, and some recent case history in the climate movement. This piece was researched and written by CDC summer intern, friend and colleague Ted Hamilton, a student at Harvard Law school, who also authored a detailed history of the necessity defense for the Boston Globe in 2015 leading up to the Lobster Boat Blockade Trial. We're grateful to have Ted on board with the Climate Disobedience Center, and we hope you'll find this tool helpful. Please share! And check back soon, we'll have a printable PDF version.
On Monday, Nov. 16, inspired by recent Bill McKibben's #ExxonKnew protest, I blocked a gas pump at a Mobil station in NE Portland, Oregon for about an hour before being arrested. This video by Lindsey Grayzel follows the action and arrest and we hope will encourages others to take such action.Read more