Our Core Team
Tim DeChristopher, as Bidder 70, disrupted an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in December of 2008, by outbidding oil companies for parcels around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. His actions and 21 month imprisonment earned him a national and international media presence, which he has used as a platform to spread the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for bold, confrontational action in order to create a just and healthy world. Tim used his prosecution as an opportunity to organize the climate justice organization Peaceful Uprising in Salt Lake City. Tim is a Co-Founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, and after graduating from Harvard Divinity School, continues the work to defend a livable future. Read More.
Marla Marcum is a United Methodist committed to supporting people of all faiths and no particular faith to act boldly for justice. An experienced campaigner, trainer, pastor and lay leader, she brings two decades of social justice organizing experience with faith-based, youth, and grassroots groups. She supported the launch of Climate Summer, serving as its Director for five years, and is a Co-Founder of both Better Future Project and 350 Massachusetts. Marla has supported, organized, and participated in many direct action and civil disobedience efforts, including the Lobster Boat Blockade and the campaign of sustained nonviolent resistance to Spectra Energy's West Roxbury Lateral pipeline project with Resist The Pipeline. Marla is a Co-Founder of the Climate Disobedience Center and is passionate about leadership development and building supportive communities of resistance among unlikely allies. She calls both the Boston area and the Missouri Ozarks “home.”
Jay O'Hara is a Quaker from Cape Cod. In 2009, he founded Climate Summer, a transformational program for student climate activists. In 2011 he co-founded the Young Adult Friends Climate Working Group and the Prophetic Climate Action Working Group to provide leadership to New England Quakers. Called to bolder action in 2013 he, along with Ken Ward, blockaded 40,000 tons of coal destined for the Brayton Point power plant with their small white lobster boat named the "Henry David T" - the Lobster Boat Blockade. The ensuing legal proceedings garnered national attention, and the plant closed its doors in 2017. In 2016, he supported the tar sands "valve turners" action across 4 states which shut down 15% of the US daily oil supply. He continues to support the valve tuners in their trial period. Jay is a Co-Founder of the Climate Disobedience Center and is recognized by his Quaker meeting to serve as a traveling minister in New England. He currently lives in Maine.
Fellows join the Center to pursue their own projects that further our shared Principles, using the resources of the Center to strengthen their work.
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman is the Assistant Rabbi of Temple Sinai of Brookline, MA, a vibrant and progressive Reform congregation. Rabbi Shoshana became a rabbi after realizing that her despair and paralysis about environmental degradation would only be healed through spiritual community and being grounded in Jewish study and practice. Ordained by Hebrew College in 2014, she emerged from six years of intense study to find the global climate movement in a burst of energy and momentum. After a year of speaking and singing in many Boston interfaith climate actions, she co-wrote a new climate anthem, The Tide Is Rising, with her husband, Yotam Schachter, and sang it at the National Cathedral during Pope Francis' visit to the USA. In addition to her new project, Clergy Climate Action. Rabbi Shoshana is an alum of JOIN for Justice, the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and Oberlin College, where she majored in Environmental Studies. She and Yotam live in Jamaica Plain, MA. For articles, sermons, music and liturgy visit www.rabbishoshana.com.
The Climate Disobedience Center is building a volunteer board to provide accountability and oversight. Each of these individuals bring incredible skills and resources to our common work. We will be continuing to announce new board members this fall.
Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr. is a minister, community organizer, and president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus. Rev Yearwood has been a national leader in engaging young people in social and political activism since 2003. He leads the Respect My Vote! campaign and is recognized as one of the most effective organizers in Hip Hop political life. As an anti-war and climate justice activist, he has engaged in numerous acts of civil disobedience. While serving as an Air Force Officer in the Chaplain Corps, Rev Yearwood courageously faced a court-martial for his outspoken opposition to the Iraq War and ultimately received an honorable discharge after his case was dismissed.
For at least the past decade, Rev Yearwood has been at the forefront of helping the climate movement develop an intersectional analysis and build relationships across social justice movements. He has brought a spirit of passion and deep reflection that has resonated across the climate justice movement.
Claire Sandberg has been organizing for many years, since first getting involved in the global justice movement in the late 90's. Among other things, she was one of the organizers who launched the campaign to ban fracking in New York State. She also directed the Bernie Sanders campaign's distributed organizing program as national digital organizing director, and was an architect of the campaign’s volunteer-driven strategy. She's currently working on a few different projects helping progressive organizations and candidates build grassroots power. Claire lives in Washington, DC.
Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen roots for the Wisconsin Badgers, lives in Boston, and is learning all the time about courage, singing, cowardice and prayer. She is the Senior Strategist for Standing on the Side of Love at the Unitarian Universalist Association. She pushes faith communities to support frontline organizing. She comes to climate work to reckon with her family’s past of drilling for oil on occupied Seneca land in Western New York and to honor her family’s inheritance as refugees who know the pain of fleeing land that is no longer livable. More at: https://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/ourstories/.
Ted Hamilton is a co-founder of the Climate Defense Project and hails from Boston. Ted’s passions lie at the intersection of environmental and social justice, and in the use of movement politics and legal advocacy to transform society. Ted has studied comparative literature and philosophy at Cornell and Yale, and written about books, politics, and climate change for a variety of publications. During law school he focused on protest defense and growing the climate movement through involvement in the Harvard divestment campaign and internships with the Civil Liberties Defense Center and Climate Disobedience Center.
Climate Defense Project. The climate movement needs climate lawyers. Climate Defense Project fills a gap in the legal landscape by supporting front-line activists, pursuing climate impact litigation, and connecting attorneys with communities and campaigns. The Climate Disobedience Center has worked with the CDP team since they were students at Harvard Law School, and we continue to collaborate to find legal resources for climate activists and to support those activists who choose to go to trial using novel legal tools like the climate necessity defense.
Climate Direct Action. Formed in the lead up to the valve turners tar sands pipeline shut down in 2016, Climate Direct Action has continued to support their defense and spread their story. It has also been the major hub for the development of future plans for high-impact actions similar to the valve turners. Climate Direct Action is a fully independent entity where CDC Co-Founder Ken Ward will continue his efforts to develop and lead major direct actions.
Ken Ward co-founded the Climate Disobedience Center with Marla, Tim and Jay. In October, 2016, Ken was one of five "ValveTurners" in the Shut It Down action, which closed all five pipelines carrying tar sands oil from Canada into the US. Ken's work is now housed within Climate Direct Action, which is supporting the continued legal challenges of the valve turners.
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The following are the guiding principles of the Climate Disobedience Center.
We aim to...
1. Use creative, nonviolent conflict at the point of injury that invokes moral clarity and unmasks the violence of the status quo.
2. Create a community of climate dissidents who are engaged as whole people, bonded by love and trust, who have each other’s backs in this risky work, and who recognize relationships will sustain us now and as the crisis deepens.
3. Nurture our own continuing development of body, mind and spirit in order to live fully in a time of climate crisis.
4. Tell the full truth about ourselves and our world to the best of our understanding.
5. Engage everyone, even our enemies and opponents, with openness, tolerance and humor.
6. Resist the historical oppressions of racism, patriarchy, classism, parochialism and nationalism with humility, vulnerability and courage.
7. Honor the inherent worth and dignity of every person by replacing the dehumanizing systems of our world with relationships of mutuality and respect.
8. Act for people, other species, wild places and the very web of life itself.
9. Grapple with the true questions of fairness, risk and equity confronting our society, with a focus on moral imagination rather than policy and political feasibility.
Updated October 15, 2017