“Be the Carbon Tax” – Tim De Christopher Trial Begins Today
February 28, 2011
From the Deseret News:
SALT LAKE CITY — The much belated and bemoaned trial of the modern-day darling of civil disobedience begins today, and as much as Tim DeChristopher has told his story to the throngs, now it’s time to tell it to a jury.
DeChristopher, a soft-spoken University of Utah graduate with iron convictions, is being prosecuted in federal court on two charges that could land him in prison for up to 10 years.
Despite the looming possibility of a criminal conviction, DeChristopher has long contended it was his personal convictions that transformed him into bidder No. 70 at a BLM auction, facetiously staking a claim to 13 parcels of land for nearly $1.8 million. The action brought charges in U.S. District Court of violating an onshore oil and gas leasing act and making a false statement.
Then 27, and an economics student, DeChristopher felt strongly enough that the land auction was illegal, that civil disobedience was called for.
Again, the Deseret News:
DeChristopher’s defense team tried unsuccessfully to raise the “necessity defense” on his behalf — that he acted out of necessity when he monkey-wrenched the auction, choosing the “lesser of two evils” to right a wrong. Had he been able to use that defense, DeChristopher could point to global warming and the irreparable harm that would result to future generations as justification for his actions. That effort was thwarted, however, with Judge Dee Benson rejecting the argument and asserting the trial was not going to be turned into a debate on global warming.”
In an interview with Good, De Christopher noted:
The irony is that when the new administration took over, the new head of the Interior [Ken Salazar] overturned all the leases—not just the leases that I won, but all the others from that auction as well. He’s made it very clear that the auction itself was illegal, and that the whole process was corrupt. He’s used very bold language to describe it.
You know how Gandhi said you have to “be the change you want to see in the world.” Well the change that most of us wish to see is a carbon tax, but our leaders aren’t doing that for us, so Gandhi’s call is then for us to be the carbon tax. What does that mean—to “be the carbon tax?” To cost the fossil fuel industry money in any way that we can. Getting in their way, slowing them down, shutting them down. Doing whatever we can to be that tax. It forces our leaders to make a choice—to either be more explicit in their war on the young generation, or to to get serious about stopping climate change.