Tuesday, October 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sacrifice? No, an empowering protest

By
From page A6 | June 13, 2013 |

Tim DeChristopher. Courtesy photo

Details

What: Screening of “Bidder 70″ documentary about Tim DeChristopher

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road

Admission: A donation of $5-$10 is suggested

“I thought I was sacrificing my freedom, but instead I was grabbing onto my freedom for the first time and refusing to let go of it.”

— Tim DeChristopher

“Bidder 70,” a documentary showcasing Tim DeChristopher’s story, will be shown Thursday, June 20, in the sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A discussion of the effects of DeChristopher’s definitive action in the climate action movement will follow. A donation of $5 to $10 is suggested.

In December 2008, during the closing weeks of George W. Bush’s administration, DeChristopher, a 27-year-old University of Utah economics student, protested the auction of gas and oil drilling rights to more than 150,000 acres of publicly owned Utah wilderness surrounding U.S. national parks.

But instead of yelling slogans or waving a sign outside, DeChristopher accepted a bidding paddle and won a dozen land leases worth nearly $2 million he didn’t have. He was arrested for criminal fraud, found guilty, and sentenced to two years in federal prison — even though the new Obama administration had since declared the oil and gas auction null and void.

DeChristopher visited Davis in the spring of 2011 while he awaited sentencing. The California Student Sustainability Coalition at UC Davis invited him as its keynote speaker for its Spring Convergence, and he stayed the night at my home.

He walked into the living room, noted the hymnal on the piano and said, “So, you’re a Unitarian?”

“Moral foundation,” I said.

Tim, a member of the Salt Lake City Unitarian Universalist Church, nodded agreement.

I found him agreeable and mild-mannered, hardly a die-hard revolutionary. He worked with kids in Outdoor Adventure, loved the wilderness and welcomed the chance to ride a bike to campus.

He’d been “in training,” though, studying Martin Luther King and Gandhi, talking with Terry Tempest Williams and Bill McKibben, thinking about climate change, power, how to make change happen.

He remarked that it took only a few brave souls willing to take big risks to initiate the civil rights movement, and soon the whole country took up the challenge. He believed the same could prove true for our present climate crisis. A few people willing to stand up against Big Oil might tip the scales.

I thanked Tim for standing up for the land and hoped his sentence would be mild.

“I lack your courage,” I admitted.

Tim’s eyes bored into mine and his words have stayed with me ever since.

“I thought it would be a sacrifice, risking going to prison. But the minute I took action, I was free!” he said simply and joyfully.

In his earnest explanation, I heard his unshakable conviction. Standing up against an illegitimate auction of public land, a giveaway to the oil industry, had freed him from believing there was nothing he could do, in this or any other situation. Considering that Tim most likely faced a prison sentence and a formidable fine, his ease was impressive.

Soon after, Tim was sentenced to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He told the court, “You have control over my life, but not my principles.” Read his full speech at http://grist.org/cimate-energy/2011-07-27-time-dechristophers-statement-to-the-court.

Author Terry Tempest Williams wrote in her January/February 2012 interview with Tim published in Orion Magazine, “Tim has become a thoughtful, dynamic leader of his generation in the climate change movement. While many of us talk about the importance of democracy, Tim has put his body on the line and is now paying the consequences.”

Williams continued, “… thousands of citizens are following his lead and are choosing to commit acts of civil resistance. …They recognize that we can no longer look for leadership outside ourselves. ..if public opinion changes, government changes.”

Tim’s courage continues to inspire action. More than 2,000 protesters arrived in Washington, D.C., in waves for two weeks of peaceful sit-ins between Aug. 20 and Sept. 3, 2011, and 1,200 of them were arrested at the White House to protest the Keystone XL pipeline.

On Presidents Day 2013, tens of thousands protested in cities across the country over the same pipeline, including at least 40,000 in Washington and 5,000 in San Francisco. Activists are preparing for more civil disobedience and arrests this July as President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline draws near.

Bill Moyers interviewed Tim on May 24 to talk about the necessity for civil disobedience in the fight for environmental justice, how the jury was ordered to place the strict letter of the law over moral conscience, and the future of the environmental movement.

Moyers raised the question, “I have a hunch that most people listening to us now, watching us now, agree that our government has been captured by big money, big business, corporate America. But they don’t know how, what to do about it. And unlike you, many of them are married, have children, have obligations, own homes. Two years in prison would totally disrupt their life and their commitments to others. … What do you say to those people?”

Tim answered, “Not everyone has to go to prison. But I think everyone has to feel empowered to take strong actions. … There’s been this huge resurgence of the climate justice side of the movement and the real grassroots side of the climate movement over the past few years.”

Watch Moyers’ interview, “Going to Jail for Justice,” at http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-going-to-jail-for-justice. A spur-of-the-moment act can perhaps power a climate movement.

The “Bidder 70″ screening is sponsored by Green Sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Cool Davis and the Church and Society Ministry of Davis Community Church.

— Lynne Nittler is a Davis resident; contact her at lnittler@sbcglobal.net

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Suspected arson fires worry neighbors, firefighters

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Winters homicide case enters jury-selection phase

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    So much more than a cute baby store

    By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Fill the Boot for the hungry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Existing home sales rise in September

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Democrats love seeing minimum wage on the ballot

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Tax tips offered for sole proprietors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Apply now for community mediation training

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Paws for Thought: Pets for Vets: matches made in heaven

    By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    ‘Tokyo Kill’ author will visit bookstore

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Sierra Club gathers for morning walks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    DPNS has play group, preschool openings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yolo Knitters Guild plans fall meetings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Local farm products found at hospital market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    First-time home buyers get free advice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Psychiatric clinic hosts open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Beer dinner set on Co-op patio

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Walkin’ the Dawg through the park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
     
    Essay contest winners will be honored Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Library hosts after-hours teen movie nights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Forum eyes impacts of raising the local minimum wage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    NAMI-Yolo family support group meets Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    To save the birds, look to the fish

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Birding field trip planned Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Ready to go, whatever happens

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Where there’s a will …

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    These three are the best

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Sunder has bold vision

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    Archer, Nolan are my picks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    She’s innovative, passionate

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    An accidental fan becomes a baseball devotee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    U.N. steps up to lead Ebola response

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    John Cole cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Sports

    UCD’s Wegener is the engine that drives the train

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Villegas wonderstrike powers Devils

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS golfers take the title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Devil defense regresses in football loss

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

    Sports briefs: Top-end tennis talent helps DHS girls grab a win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Junior Blue Devils: Regular slate ends with 2 Davis teams playoff bound

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    After running the gridiron gauntlet, can UCD regroup?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Stories on Stage Davis presents tales by Lescroart, Montieth

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Peggy Belenis Swisher

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7