Climate hero faces 10 years in jail – Support Tim DeCristopher

Two weeks ago Tim DeCristopher, the US climate activist charged with disrupting an auction of land parcels for fossil fuel exploration by entering the auction and bidding for land, was found guilty in a Salt Lake City courtroom. He now faces up to 10 years imprisonment, with his sentencing scheduled for June 23rd.

 

During his trial, Tim’s defence was not allowed to mention that the auction he disrupted was itself illegal, and that all of its sales were later overturned.
They were also not allowed to mention that he had in fact been able to raise enough money from supporters to afford the initial deposit on the land he had bid for.
And finally, they were also not even allowed to mention Tim’s motivation for entering the auctions – to stand in the way of the enormous threat of climate change, and to protect his future.
Tim took a courageous stand. As Naomi Klein has noted, it is ironic that he stands to be imprisoned because he had no intention of paying for his bids, while oil and gas companies are free to profit from the use of fossil fuels with absolutely no intention of paying the costs of the climate change they cause. Bill Mckibben has said of DeCristopher ‘he should be getting a medal, not a sentence….He was brave by himself; we need to be brave in quantity.’
Tim is a complete bloody hero, and just what each of us needs to be as members of what Simon Sheikh from the Australian group GetUp calls ‘the last line of defence for mother nature’ – the very last generation with a chance to act on climate change.
Tim needs our help and solidarity right now. Please go to his website to donate towards his defence fund and find out how else to help him, and join this facebook cause calling for Obama to pardon him.

During his trial, Tim’s defence was not allowed to mention that the auction he disrupted was itself illegal, and that all of its sales were later overturned.

They were also not allowed to mention that he had in fact been able to raise enough money from supporters to afford the initial deposit on the land he had bid for.

And finally, they were also not even allowed to mention Tim’s motivation for entering the auctions – to stand in the way of the enormous threat of climate change, and to protect his future.

Tim took a courageous stand. As Naomi Klein has noted, it is ironic that he stands to be imprisoned because he had no intention of paying for his bids, while oil and gas companies are free to profit from the use of fossil fuels with absolutely no intention of paying the costs of the climate change they cause. Bill Mckibben has said of DeCristopher ‘he should be getting a medal, not a sentence….He was brave by himself; we need to be brave in quantity.’

Tim is a complete bloody hero, and just what each of us needs to be as members of what Simon Sheikh from the Australian group GetUp calls ‘the last line of defence for mother nature’ – the very last generation with a chance to act on climate change.

Tim needs our help and solidarity right now. Please go to his website to donate towards his defence fund and find out how else to help him, and join this facebook cause calling for Obama to pardon him.

Getting Affordable Health Insurance

The start of October marked the beginning of new provisions instated by the Affordable Care Act across the United States. These provisions mainly involved introducing new and more accessible health care plans to the general public, plans that were designed to help people afford basic healthcare in accordance to their annual salaries, whether as a family or individual.

 

As a part of the initiative imposed by the Affordable Care Act, more residents of the United States have better access to health insurance. Having an adequate enough health insurance plan helps people become able to afford their medical bills and have control over the type of medical care they may receive from health care providers.

 

Perhaps the most important part about the notion of getting affordable healthcare is the reduced costs. Many residents have problems with medical expenses, as the costs can get high for simple hospital visits, treatment for chronic conditions, prescriptions and even emergency room visits. Although simple, these medical related factors can make your medical expenses rise–and place you into debt, if you remain uninsured.

 

Of course, having health insurance prevents you from delaying health care, especially during times where you need it. It doubly goes for people who have a chronic disease, who need medical care to successfully treat their condition.

 

In Florida, you have three basic options to choose from when you’re selecting a health insurance plan. These options include employment and/or organization-related health insurance coverage, private direct-purchase health plans and government subsidized programs.

 

Most people around Florida and the United States are insured through the health insurance plan of their sole financial provider, who could be themselves or their spouse. Most people under the age of 65, in fact, are insured this way. This type of health insurance, generally known as group insurance, usually depicts a worker paying part of the cost, while the employer or union pays for the rest.

 

The COBRA law, in relation to group health insurance, actually helps people keep their same health insurance plan through an employer or union for up to 18 months following you leaving your job or have become ineligible for benefits. In some cases, you will be insured for longer than 18 months, in accordance with the COBRA act.

 

People who remained insured have to pay the full premium, which consists of your share and your employer’s share. Although some people might assume that COBRA is more expensive, it might actually be cheaper than a full fledged policy for some. For more information see: http://yourfloridainsurancequotes.com/health-insurance/health-insurance-why-you-need-a-plan/ or http://yourfloridainsurancequotes.com/health-insurance/florida-kills-obama-care-medicaid-deal/

Great News: Ted Glick Avoids Jail

Fantastic news today for all climate activists around the world: Ted Glick, Climate Justice Faster and policy director of the US NGO Chesapeake Climate Action Now was spared the ordeal of a jail sentence for peacefully unfurling banners reading “GREEN JOBS NOW” and “GET TO WORK” inside the U.S. Senate Hart Office Building last September. Hundreds of fellow activists and climate concerned citizens from all over the world wrote letters in support of Ted to his judge and packed out his courtroom in solidarity, and it seems to have some effect. What was looking almost certainly like at least a few months, and quite possibly years, of jail time became simply a good behavior bond and community service, as Ted walked free from the court amongst friends and supporters.

To anyone who helped this cause by writing a letter in support of Ted, thank you! Here is the poignant and powerful statement Ted read out in court:

Ted Glick’s Sentencing Statement, July 6, 2010

Your honor, I’d like to focus my statement on the “why” of the September 8th action, about which I was not able to testify at my trial. I’ll begin with a quote from a March 4th, 2010 press release from the U.S. National Science Foundation. It concerns the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas 70 times as strong as carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere. This release begins:

“A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team. . .

“The research results show that the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane, is perforated and is starting to leak large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”

This melting of frozen methane on the sea floor is one of several climate tipping points that scientists have long identified as of great concern. The others are: the release of methane frozen in the permafrost in the earth’s northern latitudes, the accelerated melting of the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets such that sea level rise would be much more rapid than currently expected, and the drying out of the Amazon rainforest because of drought and the release of much of the estimated 120 billion tons of carbon sequestered there.

What is a climate tipping point? It’s a point at which there has been so much heating up of the atmosphere that we experience drastic and runaway heating with truly catastrophic implications for the whole world, especially for the poor people of the world who are most vulnerable to respiratory diseases, heat stress, droughts, floods, major storms, water scarcity and disruption of agriculture.

We may well be on the verge of one of these tipping points. I hope we haven’t passed one already.

We are literally running out of time to make the dramatic changes, to shift rapidly from fossil fuels to clean energy, that will give us a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.

I hope that in the thinking you have been doing about my sentence, this dire situation in which we find ourselves has been taken into account. Faced with such a planetary emergency, we must speak up and take action. And as citizens of a democracy, we must nonviolently urge, in the best ways we know how, our elected representatives, our Congresspersons and Senators, to do the right thing. That is what I did on September 8thof last year.

As the country responsible for the highest percentage of greenhouse gases that are up in the atmosphere, the United States must begin to give leadership on this issue. We haven’t done so yet. And time is running out.

Time is running out. All of us, in our own ways and for the sake of those being affected by climate change right now, for our children and grandchildren, must speak out and take action now.

 

And here is a quick video that shows Ted’s action. He’s the one at the end unfurling the long green banner. Hardly deserving of time in jail!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCdsWWxKOv0

Sentiment With Action

This article was published in Adbusters #91, the ‘I, Revolution’ issue. Right at the back. But that’s cool, because I read magazines back-to-front. Don’t know why, just do. smile

It’s late. Maybe 2, or 3am, and I’m scanning my email inbox for anything important I might have missed. Eventually I notice a message that lists the names of two famous activists – Bill Mckibben and Naomi Klein – in its subject header.

The email is a ‘call to action’ soliciting support for Tim DeCristopher, a climate change activist who faces 10 years in jail after disrupting an auction of oil and gas leases in Utah.
I’m interested in this, and not just because of the facts – that by his fake bidding, DeCristopher prevented the Bush administration selling off 14 parcels of land for fossil fuel extraction – and is being prosecuted despite the new US administration ruling that the land had been inappropriate for sale. I’m actually interested largely because I’ve recently been thinking a lot about jail, and wondering about what role it might play in the peoples movement for just action on climate change. So I want to know more about Tim DeCristopher.

 

This article was published in Adbusters#91, the  ‘I, Revolution’ issue. Right at the back. But that’s cool, because I read magazines back-to-front. Don’t know why, just do. :)
It’s late. Maybe 2, or 3am, and I’m scanning my email inbox for anything important I might have missed. Eventually I notice a message that lists the names of two famous activists – Bill Mckibben and Naomi Klein – in its subject header.
The email is a ‘call to action’ soliciting support for Tim DeCristopher, a climate change activist who faces 10 years in jail after disrupting an auction of oil and gas leases in Utah.
I’m interested in this, and not just because of the facts – that by his fake bidding, DeCristopher prevented the Bush administration selling off 14 parcels of land for fossil fuel extraction – and is being prosecuted despite the new US administration ruling that the land had been inappropriate for sale. I’m actually interested largely because I’ve recently been thinking a lot about jail, and wondering about what role it might play in the peoples movement for just action on climate change. So I want to know more about Tim DeCristopher.
On his website (www.bidder70.org) there is a video of DeCristopher speaking at a climate rally in Salt Lake City last October. An athletic-looking 26-year-old with a shaved head and intense eyes, he speaks loudly and succinctly, like a charismatic churchman in full swing. At times he even breaks into gospel song.
There is more than a hint of spirituality in his speech, too. He tells the crowd of his personal awakening – that every day since his action, despite knowing he may soon be behind bars, he has walked a little taller, and felt a little more free. He also offers them a form of salvation, promising that it will be the social struggle for a safe climate and sustainable future that will make us the truly noble beings we were meant to be.
In an interview with Democracy Now, DeCristopher quotes the late US environmentalist Edward Abbey, who said that ‘sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul’. For much of his time as an activist on climate change, he explains, he felt a nagging disconnection between the scale of the issue and his actions upon it. But when he began to bid at the auction, and risk imprisonment, he says, he became profoundly calm.
I feel I can understand this. As a climate activist, I have felt this disconnection, and also its absence. I know that as I signed on, again and again, to a never-ending parade of online petitions, wrote letters to politicians, and chose ‘eco-friendly’ options at the local supermarket, I was aware that such token actions betrayed my true feelings about the importance of the issue. In a way, they were a lie, both to myself and to the world. And they didn’t feel good.
But there have also been times when my actions did honestly represent my convictions. Last September, I was arrested for trespass during a mass civil disobedience action against one of the world’s most polluting coal power stations. And from early November till mid-December, I fasted on water and salt outside Australia’s parliament house calling for action on climate change with Climate Justice Fast!, an international hunger strike I co-founded. On those occasions, I experienced just the feeling DeCristopher describes.
Riding in the back of a police car after my arrest, I felt a warm contentment, and strangely enough, an enormous sense of freedom. And weak and hungry from my fast, I often puzzled the journalists who asked how I felt by responding that I felt very good indeed.
What I found, and what I believe Tim DeCristopher and Edward Abbey found, was the same thing – we cannot be at peace if our actions do not reflect what we truly believe. But when they do, our spirits soar. Then, we’re alive, and we are free.
This is no groundbreaking revelation. Mahatma Gandhi probably had the same kind of feeling in mind when he said that ‘happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are all in harmony’. Yet while it is nothing new, there may be few more important concepts for our society to grasp.
In his recent work The Freedom Paradox, The Australian thinker Clive Hamilton argues that within free-market capitalism, corporate interests actively discourage us from acting in accord with the values, preferences and desires we would endorse after careful consideration. Very few of us, he writes, would upon deep reflection say that it is our innermost desire in life to work incredibly hard at a job we dislike in order to possess the latest consumer products. Yet this is precisely the life our society encourages. From our young childhood onwards, advertisers expertly instil within us a set of values, preferences and desires that are not our own, but those that corporations wish us to have. As a result, our true ideals become increasingly neglected and stigmatized. This denial of our moral selves, Hamilton believes, can largely explain the discontentment increasingly prevalent in affluent societies.
Some empirical support for these ideas can be found in the work of Martin Seligman, the world-renowned psychologist and expert in the study of happiness. After years of research, Seligman has proposed that a major component of happiness is having ‘meaning’ in our lives, which is achieved, according to his definition, by being devoted to something larger than ourselves.
This complements Hamilton’s arguments well. The things we devote ourselves to and derive meaning from, will doubtlessly be linked with our inner values. And if devoting ourselves to things we deeply value is an important part of happiness, it seems only obvious that failing to do so – and living in societies that actively discourage us from doing so – would lead to unhappiness.
Which is all just a complex way of saying that that if, deep down, you feel like you should be taking certain actions, or that you are not living up to your true ideals, then you will probably be a happier person if you take those actions, and live up to those ideals. Simple, really.
Well, simple, but important. We, alive today, are very likely the last generation that will be able to mitigate climate change, and stave off global ecosystem collapse. So our responsibility is enormous. Yet while our politicians procrastinate, and our polluting industries and lifestyles continue to expand heedless of the risks, many of us still remain dormant. A small section of our society is alive to the issue, and politically active upon it, but its numbers are still far too small to bring about the changes we desperately need.
Our greatest hope, then, may be that Hamilton and Seligman are right, and that our societies harbour an enormous number of people who are failing to live up to their inner ideals, who are unhappy as a result. Because if that is the case, then the salvation offered by Tim DeCristopher in Salt Lake City is real. Standing up and acting upon our deeper ideals and fighting back against the forces systematically destroying our environment would not only allow for our species to continue to survive and flourish on planet earth, it would also make us happier, and more free. Matching our sentiments with actions, as Edward Abbey may have said if he had been more optimistically inclined, will make our souls sing.
So if you feel that maybe you should be doing more, my advice is simple- do more. Take that step that your real self, your moral self, has been pulling you towards. Contact that group you have been meaning to contact, or start that group you have been meaning to start.
And feel that life pulsing through your veins.

 

On his website there is a video of DeCristopher speaking at a climate rally in Salt Lake City last October. An athletic-looking 26-year-old with a shaved head and intense eyes, he speaks loudly and succinctly, like a charismatic churchman in full swing. At times he even breaks into gospel song.

There is more than a hint of spirituality in his speech, too. He tells the crowd of his personal awakening – that every day since his action, despite knowing he may soon be behind bars, he has walked a little taller, and felt a little more free. He also offers them a form of salvation, promising that it will be the social struggle for a safe climate and sustainable future that will make us the truly noble beings we were meant to be.
In an interview with Democracy Now, DeCristopher quotes the late US environmentalist Edward Abbey, who said that ‘sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul’. For much of his time as an activist on climate change, he explains, he felt a nagging disconnection between the scale of the issue and his actions upon it. But when he began to bid at the auction, and risk imprisonment, he says, he became profoundly calm.
I feel I can understand this. As a climate activist, I have felt this disconnection, and also its absence. I know that as I signed on, again and again, to a never-ending parade of online petitions, wrote letters to politicians, and chose ‘eco-friendly’ options at the local supermarket, I was aware that such token actions betrayed my true feelings about the importance of the issue. In a way, they were a lie, both to myself and to the world. And they didn’t feel good.
But there have also been times when my actions did honestly represent my convictions. Last September, I was arrested for trespass during a mass civil disobedience action against one of the world’s most polluting coal power stations. And from early November till mid-December, I fasted on water and salt outside Australia’s parliament house calling for action on climate change with Climate Justice Fast!, an international hunger strike I co-founded. On those occasions, I experienced just the feeling DeCristopher describes.
Riding in the back of a police car after my arrest, I felt a warm contentment, and strangely enough, an enormous sense of freedom. And weak and hungry from my fast, I often puzzled the journalists who asked how I felt by responding that I felt very good indeed.
What I found, and what I believe Tim DeCristopher and Edward Abbey found, was the same thing – we cannot be at peace if our actions do not reflect what we truly believe. But when they do, our spirits soar. Then, we’re alive, and we are free.
This is no groundbreaking revelation. Mahatma Gandhi probably had the same kind of feeling in mind when he said that ‘happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are all in harmony’. Yet while it is nothing new, there may be few more important concepts for our society to grasp.
In his recent work The Freedom Paradox, The Australian thinker Clive Hamilton argues that within free-market capitalism, corporate interests actively discourage us from acting in accord with the values, preferences and desires we would endorse after careful consideration. Very few of us, he writes, would upon deep reflection say that it is our innermost desire in life to work incredibly hard at a job we dislike in order to possess the latest consumer products. Yet this is precisely the life our society encourages. From our young childhood onwards, advertisers expertly instil within us a set of values, preferences and desires that are not our own, but those that corporations wish us to have. As a result, our true ideals become increasingly neglected and stigmatized. This denial of our moral selves, Hamilton believes, can largely explain the discontentment increasingly prevalent in affluent societies.
Some empirical support for these ideas can be found in the work of Martin Seligman, the world-renowned psychologist and expert in the study of happiness. After years of research, Seligman has proposed that a major component of happiness is having ‘meaning’ in our lives, which is achieved, according to his definition, by being devoted to something larger than ourselves.
This complements Hamilton’s arguments well. The things we devote ourselves to and derive meaning from, will doubtlessly be linked with our inner values. And if devoting ourselves to things we deeply value is an important part of happiness, it seems only obvious that failing to do so – and living in societies that actively discourage us from doing so – would lead to unhappiness.
Which is all just a complex way of saying that that if, deep down, you feel like you should be taking certain actions, or that you are not living up to your true ideals, then you will probably be a happier person if you take those actions, and live up to those ideals. Simple, really.
Well, simple, but important. We, alive today, are very likely the last generation that will be able to mitigate climate change, and stave off global ecosystem collapse. So our responsibility is enormous. Yet while our politicians procrastinate, and our polluting industries and lifestyles continue to expand heedless of the risks, many of us still remain dormant. A small section of our society is alive to the issue, and politically active upon it, but its numbers are still far too small to bring about the changes we desperately need.
Our greatest hope, then, may be that Hamilton and Seligman are right, and that our societies harbour an enormous number of people who are failing to live up to their inner ideals, who are unhappy as a result. Because if that is the case, then the salvation offered by Tim DeCristopher in Salt Lake City is real. Standing up and acting upon our deeper ideals and fighting back against the forces systematically destroying our environment would not only allow for our species to continue to survive and flourish on planet earth, it would also make us happier, and more free. Matching our sentiments with actions, as Edward Abbey may have said if he had been more optimistically inclined, will make our souls sing.
So if you feel that maybe you should be doing more, my advice is simple- do more. Take that step that your real self, your moral self, has been pulling you towards. Contact that group you have been meaning to contact, or start that group you have been meaning to start.
And feel that life pulsing through your veins.