Call for Climate Direct Action [Updated]


Bill McKibben,
Phil Radford, Greenpeace USA
Becky Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network

Dear friends,

In early March, a jury in Utah found Tim DeChristopher guilty for standing up to the oil and gas companies in an effort to protect our health and our climate.

If the federal government thinks that it’s intimidating people into silence with this kind of prosecution, think again. This is precisely the sort of event that reminds us why we need creative, nonviolent protests and mass mobilizations.

Over the last six months, we’ve witnessed big changes in the world that call out for creative, nonviolent protest, including:

  • The wild and extreme weather and flooding that marked the end of the warmest year on record
  • The complete collapse of efforts on Capitol Hill to do anything about climate change
  • The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which grants corporations unfettered influence over our elections

We’ve also seen a historic outpouring of people power to combat environmental crises, reclaim our democracy, and disrupt corporate influence. From the exhilarating outbreak of the freedom movement across North Africa and the Mideast to the amazing stand for democracy and workers’ rights in Wisconsin, we are seeing the strength and effectiveness that average people can have when we stand together.

There have also been inspiring examples of civil disobedience across the United States to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the climate that we depend on. On Feb. 17, Greenpeace activists scaled a coal plant in Bridgeport, Conn., as part of an escalating campaign against the dirtiest coal plants across the country. Just five days before, one of our great environmental sages, Wendell Berry, joined a sit-in at the Kentucky governor’s office to protest mountaintop-removal coal mining.

Taken together, all of this confirms our belief that we need to keep escalating the struggle for climate justice.

It is not one event but a wave of actions that trigger social change. Paul Revere was not the only rider to warn of the British advance, and many people refused to move to the back of the bus before Rosa Parks. Actions like DeChristopher’s create ripples that spread far and wide.

In a recent interview, DeChristopher issued a challenge to all of us to seize the power we already have to make a difference:

We think we have no power when in fact we have more than enough power. Right now, we have a big enough movement to win this battle; we just need to start acting like it. That’s the message that the climate movement really needs to internalize. On an individual level, it means making the commitment that we’re going to be powerful and effective agents of change; on the movement level, it’s about making the decision that we’re really going to win this battle.

We worry that we may have waited too long to get this battle going in earnest; the science is dark, and the politics are tough. But we know, from watching our inspiring colleagues around the world who are facing great dangers head-on, that the best time to act is now. Over the coming weeks, each of our organizations, working together and individually, will be pursuing a variety of strategies to try and spark more mass, direct action.

Tim DeChristopher took a brave and lonely stand; it’s time to make sure that in the future bravery comes in bigger quantities.

Join In Here

See also Still Wondering Why The Public is Ill-Informed on Climate Change?

…and Climate Change Denialist Tattoos Definitely Go On the Butt, Man!


In May, the International Energy Agency estimated the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere in 2010. According to their report, “Global leaders agreed a target of limiting temperature increase to 2°C at the UN climate change talks in Cancun in 2010. For this goal to be achieved, the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must be limited to around 450 parts per million of CO2-equivalent, only a 5% increase compared to an estimated 430 parts per million in 2000. The IEA’s 2010 World Energy Outlook set out the 450 Scenario, an energy pathway consistent with achieving this goal, based on the emissions targets countries have agreed to reach by 2020. For this pathway to be achieved, global energy-related emissions in 2020 must not be greater than 32 Gt. This means that over the next ten years, emissions must rise less in total than they did (just) between 2009 and 2010.” That is, the amount of CO2 released just in 2010 was more than half the maximum amount which would drive the total above 450 in the coming ten years – and release amounts are growing. 2°C is a horrendous increase, as we can guess from the high temperatures, horrendous storms, and droughts now being unleashed on the world.

The Imperium has labeled opposition to its world destroying program of endless extraction to feed endless war and consumption as terrorism. The bridges have been burned. Action, of any kind, has been anticipated and will continue to be neutralized. The most dangerous job in the world is human rights activist.

This sort of thinking always leads me back to high altitude nuclear explosions as the only thing capable of pulling the plug on this world eating monster. Plus, day by day it becomes more likely. The Imperial military has apparently decided that Pakistan is not for Pakistanis. The odds increase that the Sardukar will attempt to disarm Pakistan by capturing its nukes. The only option for the Pakistani military not involving self induced genocide by nuclear annihilation, and short of just surrendering, is to loft them and destroy the satellite system that is the prime enabler of the Imperial forces. With any luck the concomitant EMP will so cripple the industrial/digital project that it will totally collapse and stop consuming resources, including most importantly, fossil fuels. Let’s pray something will save us. Any other ideas?

PS: fantastic picture.