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. Read the rest of this entry »