We’ve got a jury and some exciting developments. We began the day holding onto our seats and we end the day heartened and encouraged.
When we entered the Courthouse this morning, huddled deep inside our rain jackets, we believed that the Judge would prevent all of our expert witnesses from testifying; but, for now, former NASA chief scientist, Dr. James Hansen, Professor of Neurology, Dr. Bruce Snyder, pipeline safety expert, Dr. Ingraffea, and author, Bill McKibben, are still scheduled to testify.
We lost a roster of respected scientists and scholars. Harvard Law Professor, Lawrence Lessig, and Dr. Martin Gilens, Professor of Politics, Princeton University were to speak about the failure of lawful alternatives to address climate change. Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution was to testify to the efficacy of civil disobedience in bringing about political and policy change. And Dr. Mark Seeley, Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota was to provide testimony on the impacts of climate change in Minnesota.
Their combined testimonies would have made a very solid legal justification for Emily, Annette, and Ben’s actions. But we are still hopeful that the defendants’ compelling testimonies paired with the testimonies of the remaining expert witnesses will create the strong necessity defense our friends deserve.
We are also hopeful after meeting so many Minnesotans who are deeply aware that the climate is changing. We’ve heard from locals about the warming winters, the changing crops, the droughts, and the real fears that the pine bark beetle will kill the treasured forests in Itasca State Park in the foreseeable future. It is hard to witness these changes and not come to the conclusion that we must stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as we can.
We hear, too, that people understand we are challenging not the choices of individuals, but the greed of foreign corporations like Enbridge and the political system that provides incentives for fossil fuel extraction instead of for the renewable energy we need to survive.
Whatever comes over the next few days, we are grateful to the people of Bagley for welcoming us ― and we look forward to opening arguments that will explain and inspire.
Nicky Bradford and Alec Connon