Today, the judge in Michael's and Sam's case dropped their felony "reckless endangerment" charges (for Michael, it had been both reckless endangerment and conspiracy to reckless endangerment; for Sam, it had been only the conspiracy charge). Those charges apparently require "extreme indifference" to human life, and she said that burden wasn't met. They do retain misdemeanor reckless endangerment charges. And they still have misdemeanor trespass (and conspiracy to trespass) charges.
Michael still has a felony "criminal mischief" charge as well as a felony conspiracy to commit criminal mischief; Sam has the latter only. But these charges require the state to prove that there was significant damage...so the long and short of it is that while their legal troubles are not over, it now seems notably less likely they will spend years in prison.
So: wow. And let me just say too....Mike's & Sam's lack of extreme indifference to human life....is why they were there that day.
Onward we go!Read more
Cross-Posted from the Climate Disobedience Center
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?Read more
As more people have learned about the valve turners actions in October 2016, we realized that it might be helpful to lay out some more of our thinking about why we did this action in this particular way. There are several layers, and in a new piece on the website goes through a bunch of them.
Why go to trial?
Why target the tar sands?
Why not lock-down to the valves?
Check it out, share with you friends. We've left the comment thread open, and would love to hear what you have to add. What did we miss? What questions do you have that are unanswered? What does this sort of strategy look like for the future of our movement?
The valve turners are touring colleges and universities around Puget Sound in April.
Come hear why disrupting the status quo is imperative to our civilization’s survival and why civil disobedience is the most powerful force available to citizens now that all legal, incremental and reasonable efforts at averting climate catastrophe have been exhausted.
Through creative conflict we can force the public to wake, think, and challenge corrupt authority. Every life on earth depends on our willingness to do the right thing - Right Now
4/19 - Bellevue College, 10:30am
4/20 - Seattle Central, 12pm
4/20 - University of Puget Sound, 6pm, Tahoma Room, Thomas Hall
Reposted from EcoWatch 2/10/17. Ken Ward's re-trial begins June 5th in Skagit County, Washington.
Last week, a Skagit County, Washington jury failed to reach a verdict in my trial on charges of burglary and sabotage for closing the TransMountain pipeline as part of the ShutItDown climate direct action, which disrupted all five pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S. last October.
The trial itself was very short, barely two days long, because there was no disagreement on the facts of the case, because my proposed necessity defense was not allowed by order of the presiding judge (so our expert witnesses on climate science and energy policy did not take the stand) and because my own testimony was sharply limited in scope.
On the stand, I told the jury my own story, about working for decades on the staff of public interest and environmental organizations where we treated climate change as merely one among many policy issues and about the rude awakening I received after reading two seminal papers, Bill Hare's, 1997 Greenpeace International report The Carbon Logic and Dr. James Hansen's 2005 A Slippery Slope.
The tar sands valve turners are speaking across the west coast and planning an east coast tour in the future. Check out our event listing on our Facebook page for more details about these events. See you out there!
Oregon Mini-tourEugene, OR - Friday February 24th 6:30-8:30 PM - First United Methodist Church, Sponsored by 350 Eugene
Welcome to the #ShutItDown website of the tar sands pipeline valve-turners! Five activists, three supporters and one documentary filmmaker are being prosecuted for taking direct action to avert climate cataclysm on October 11, 2016.
The first of these, Ken Ward, stands trial January 30th in Skagit County, Washington. Here's how you can follow along:
First, sign up to our email list to receive updates.
To keep up with the action live-tweeted from the courtroom in Mount Vernon, follow @enjohnston and @climatedisobey on Twitter. And we'll be using #ValveTurners #ClimateTrial and #ShutItDown. Tweet away!
On Facebook, Like the #ShutItDown page - we'll be posting updates and doing Live video updates as the trial proceeds.
Finally, if you're looking to learn more about the "action that shook the North American energy industry" and find the video re-cap, check out our pages about the action.
"Havel wrote about 'living in the truth' where you neither have to filter information, you can speak the truth and speak honestly. There may be some risks or costs to that, but it's a far better way to live."
Ken Ward was the first of the valve turners to head to trial, and having had a hung-jury is back on trial June 5th for shutting down a tar sands pipeline. These are his thoughts the day before he took action in October 2016.
Before the holiday season happened, valve turner Emily Johnston was busy writing up a storm and had two pieces published on AlternNet and on Naomi Klein's blog.
In Alternet she writes, "I’ve been thinking a lot about risk lately—what we’re willing to risk, and why. I was one of five activists who turned off the major tar sands pipelines coming into the United States on Oct. 11, 2016. As a result, I’m risking prison time, ostensibly for property damage (we cut a few chains to access the valves), but really for being disobedient to business as usual. It's also possible they'll file a restitution suit, for temporarily disrupting a pipeline that’s highly profitable for some, at the expense of all others.
"I took part in the action in full awareness of these risks—in dread of them, to some degree—because of the risk that Enbridge and the other companies engaged in the extraction, transport and sale of tar sands are taking, which is the unimaginably huge risk that if the world’s scientists are correct, what really flows through those pipelines is the end of human history."
"To understand our power as citizens of the world, we have to remember that in countries where it’s still frowned upon to murder environmental activists, fossil fuel companies cannot operate without our consent. What does that consent look like? It looks like the Standing Rock Sioux deciding not to defend their water and their sacred sites. It looks like Seattle shrugging when an Arctic drilling rig is in our port, and figuring well, they’re going to do it anyway. It looks like Keystone XL being built in 2011, because ranchers and Native Americans and young people across the country believe the industry when its arrogant executives tell us it’s a done deal. It looks like people leaving their money in banks that fund these terrible projects, because they don’t see how it matters, or they think the banks are all equally bad.
"In a democracy, passivity is implicit consent. In any political system, hopelessness is self-fulfilling. When we fight, we win."