Celebrating New Growth and New Partnerships at CDC

It has been two years since we launched the Climate Disobedience Center, and those have been two seriously big years. We are in a dramatically different political situation, and our movement is also in a significantly different position. As activists and movement leaders, we strive to constantly reassess the context of our struggle and identify opportunities to be more effective at our work. And in the context of this moment we have been doing some serious reevaluation. We began with several prongs to our work housed under one umbrella because those tasks were all underrepresented in the climate movement. The emergence of new organizations over the past year allows us to spin off some of those tasks so that all of them can be approached with greater focus and clarity. We are excited to announce some big shifts that will allow us to refocus our efforts and allow our skills and vision to build a culture and community of disciplined nonviolence needed in these challenging times, and will be following up in the coming weeks with more detail about what that work looks like.


In the planning and organizing of the ground-breaking valve turners actions last year, we created a semi-independent organization called Climate Direct Action to coordinate that work. As the valve turners have been moving through their trials, 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. Moving forward, Climate Direct Action will become a fully independent entity where CDC founder Ken Ward will continue his efforts to develop and lead major direct actions.

The other exciting new organization in our movement landscape is the Climate Defense Project. When the CDC launched in 2015, our friends Kelsey Skaggs, Ted Hamilton, and Alice Cherry were still Harvard Law students. Last year they created the Climate Defense Project as a public interest nonprofit law firm, and they have been vigorously defending civil disobedience activists ever since. After we spread the word that the Climate Disobedience Center would support folks who engaged in civil disobedience, our most common request by far was for legal help and lawyers. The work of connecting lawyers and adequate defense of activists, particularly with a focus on the climate necessity defense, is happening under the Climate Defense Project. We will continue working closely with CDP to provide our skills to support the organizing, media coordinating, and fundraising around civil disobedience trials and defendants. It will be a river that flows both ways


These shifts will allow the Climate Disobedience Center to emphasize our mission of creating communities of empowered climate dissidents held together by deep bonds of trust and love. CDC founders Jay O’Hara, Marla Marcum, and Tim DeChristopher will be building groups of mutually supportive activists to forge the kind of internal and communal fortitude necessary to take bold nonviolent actions and face the climate crisis for the long haul. We will be building on the great work of CDC fellow Shoshana Friedman and the Clergy Climate Action to organize within and among faith communities, as well as helping activists outside of faith communities build spiritual resilience and groundedness. Our bottom-up organizing will empower and encourage groups and individuals to take disruptive actions and act in solidarity with frontline struggles. We will be broadening and diversifying our leadership as we announce some awesome new board members over the coming months.


As a supporter of the multi-pronged work that the Climate Disobedience Center has done, we hope that you continue to support this critical work as we move forward. If there are one or more pieces of this work that resonate most strongly with you, please become a monthly donor of the project that is leading that effort.

Or support all three! All of these organizations represent key pieces of our increasingly broad and diverse movement ecosystem. With these new developments, we are stepping up our game and fighting harder than ever to defend our humanity in a catastrophic world. We hope that you will step up with us and stay by our side in this beautiful struggle.

We’re looking forward to sharing more of our vision for the Climate Disobedience Center with you in the coming weeks.

Tim, Marla, Ken and Jay

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