MAY 10, 2017

Kelsey Skaggs
Climate Defence Project
[email protected]

Jay O’Hara
Climate Disobedience Center
[email protected]

Mount Vernon, WA — A Washington state judge has ruled that Ken Ward, a climate activist who who helped to temporarily block the flow of tar sands oil from Canada to the United States in an October protest, cannot present the climate necessity defense at his trial scheduled to begin on May 22. The decision — which limits Mr. Ward’s constitutional right to defend himself in court — bars Mr. Ward from from arguing to a jury that his actions were necessary, and prohibits him from calling expert witnesses to testify about the ongoing harms of climate change and the need for grassroots civil disobedience to impel policy change.

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Love in a Time of Cataclysm

On March 19th I delivered the sermon at Northshore United Church of Christ in Woodinville, Washington. Here's the text, and you can click on more to find the video.

Good morning everyone, and thank you for inviting me here to speak with you. I haven’t given a sermon in over a decade so I did some research, because I want to do a good job for you all today: I googled “bad sermons.”

Fascinating, what’s being preached out there. I highly recommend “The Top 20 Worst Christian Sermons.” My favorite is Pastor Larry Brown. I won’t even try to do a South Carolina accent, but here’s Paster Brown ...

“People come to me and they say Brother Brown! The television; it’s bringing an unGodly worldly atmosphere into our home, but there’s nothing I can do about it!” And TV preacher Pastor Brown says, “Yes there is!” and he hauls out a fire ax and proceeds to smash a big screen television on stage.

There’s something both delightful and surreal in watching a TV preacher smash a TV on TV.

I don’t have a lot of agreement with Paster Brown’s theology, but I surely relate to Pastor Brown’s dilemma. How do you challenge the system of predominate values while living within the system that needs to be changed? 

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Press Release 30Jan2017 Ken Ward #ClimateTrial

Historic Climate Trials Begin Today in Skagit County

Activists who “shook the North American energy industry”, not cowed In new political era

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Reflections from #DisruptJ20 and the Women's March

Over the years that I’ve been giving speeches, workshops, and interviews, I have frequently said that the climate movement is going to have to get a lot tougher.  I usually say this in the context of acknowledging the hard truths of the catastrophic levels of climate change that are now inevitable, based on my assumption that it would take some time to toughen up enough to be ready to deal with difficult situations when they arrive.  My experience in DC last week protesting the inauguration of the Trump regime has caused me to question and deepen some of those assumptions about how to approach these challenging times.

On Friday, January 20th, I was part of the climate movement contingent that was blocking the Red Gate checkpoint for people entering the inauguration ceremonies.  The inauguration had a massive security barrier around the National Mall with several large, airport style screening areas that funneled people into the secured area.  As other social justice movements blocked other gates, our crew of about 400 climate activists blockaded the checkpoint marked Red Gate at 3rd St. and D St. NW.  Around 8am, we stretched across the street with several lines of people with linked arms and unfurled banners about climate justice.

It was immediately a chaotic scene.  Several Trump supporters who happened to be mixed up in our large group took a while to figure out what was going on.  Some turned around or tried to go around us. The police started escorting some Trump supporters over a small wall to our right and through the grass behind us, but this was a slow, single-file trickle compared to the wide flow of people for which the checkpoint was designed. 




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Climate Disobedience Center Co-Founder, Ken Ward, heads to trial January 30th Ken Ward is headed to trial on January 30th for shutting down a tar sands pipeline

Climate Disobedience Center Co-Founder, Ken Ward, heads to trial January 30th

Ken Ward is headed to trial on January 30th for shutting down a tar sands pipeline. We'll be tweeting from @ClimateDisobey and posting at the action Facebook page. You can learn more about the action and trial support at ShutItDown.Today. Please consider a donation to help us support Ken and the other Valve Turners throughout the trial process.

The day before he took the action, Ken talked about his thoughts the day before he took action in October 2016. 


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The Valve Turners

On October 11th, 5 activists shut down all five pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands into the US. This is their story.

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A Special Message from Tim Dechristopher


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, Im 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 receiving this email were among the folks who gave your time, money, and emotional energy. 


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Post Election Strategy Conversation (Round 2)

In this post, Climate Disobedience Center Founders engage one another in conversation about our individual initial thoughts on post-election strategy. We have decided to have this conversation publicly and openly. We are not running our ideas or words by one another before we post them because we know that our best strategies emerge through conversation. We hope you will engage this conversation in the comments sections of the blog posts associated with this discussion. The original Thoughts on Post-Election Strategy post will serve as the table of contents for all posts related to this discussion. You can use it as a reference point to help you find other threads of the conversation.

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Thoughts on Post-Election Strategy (Tim DeChristopher)

These are my first thoughts, and I hope you will share your ideas. For links to post-election thoughts from my fellow Climate Disobedience Center Founders and updates on the conversation, click here.

With the election of Donald Trump, we are entering a different chapter for the climate movement in this country, one in which we will be fighting against a substantially different kind of power structure than previous administrations.  Many of the lessons and principles developed in previous struggles will still be applicable, and some will be more important than ever.  But some of our strategies, tactics and even organizing structures may have to be completely rethought.  We’ve got some ideas about moving forward, but we still have a lot of unanswered questions as well.  Answering some of these might take imagination and creativity, and others might take an agonizing wait to find out just how despotic a Trump regime will be.

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Thoughts on Post-Election Strategy (Marla Marcum)

These are my first thoughts, and I hope you will share your ideas. For links to post-election thoughts from my fellow Climate Disobedience Center Founders and updates on the conversation, click here.

When we launched the Climate Disobedience Center, I argued that we should define “disobedience” more broadly than “civil disobedience” because we need to build a culture of resistance to business-as-usual in our communities. Post-election, I think it’s important to return to this idea – that building principled communities founded on love and the commitment to support one another to disrupt business-as-usual is disobedience. We need to prioritize working with people to develop loving and resilient communities of resistance in order to foster the courage and support that will be required to hold on to the gains we’ve made to date and perhaps even to carve out a few wins against an emboldened fossil fuel industry along the way.

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