Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher Found Guilty

Written by Scott Parkin

Topics: Direct Action

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I left with a smile. I knew that I was a convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime.” -Martin Luther King, 1956

Today after a four hour jury deliberation, climate activist Tim DeChristopher was found guilty on two felony counts for derailing a Bureau of Land Management auction in December 2008.

Sentencing will most likely be a month or two away.

DeChristopher acted to stop the oil and gas industry from drilling in pristine Utah wilderness near Arches and Canyonlands national parks and to prevent the release of climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since his act of civil disobedience, DeChristopher has built a strong community and activist group, Peaceful Uprising, in the greater Salt Lake City area which has organized support events, marches, rallies and sing-a-longs in solidarity with him.

The federal government’s strategy has been to single Tim out with a harsh prosecution to intimidate climate activists from taking similar action. The strategy is about to backfire. Tim’s act of civil disobedience has energized the climate movements and will bring more direct action and civil disobedience, not less. We’re just getting started. See you in the streets.

Update: Interview with Tim DeChristopher on the verdict:

Watch live video from BenWinslow on

6 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Mike G says:

    This is outrageous. But not surprising, given how the judicial process was so stacked against him. The intimidation tactics are about to backfire, indeed.

  2. Michele says:

    Thank you for this interview with this courageous fighter for justice and the environment! The prosecution should be ashamed of cooperating with a system that hides the truth from those who decide a man’s fate.

  3. Rebecca Raney says:

    The heroism and idealism of Tim Christopher reminds me of the David Harris of the 60′s Vietnam anti-war movement. No, Harris did not single-handedly stop the war by going to prison, but he brought many of us to despise a government that lied to us about the best interests of our country.

    Now sixty-one years old, I am seeing the power brokers in government and industry — again signaling a willingness to sacrifice the next generations to their own immediate needs for continued business-as-usual power and treasure. They are seemingly unwilling to level the playing field to show alternative energy to be sensible and necessary RIGHT NOW or admit to the NOW economically untenable actual costs of fossil fuels once externalized costs are figured in.

    As Theodore Rozak, I believe it was, said back then, “All revolutions are unthinkable until they happen — and then they are taken for granted.” I for one am ready to help dislodge big corporate interests and whatever else stands in the way of a humanly-habitable planet for our children. The movement that Tim DeChristopher represents is as revolutionary as what is going on in many countries elsewhere today . . and at least as important.

  4. Alex L says:

    Question is, are we just talking the talk or is this movement going to take off like everyone (including myself) knows it needs to.

  5. Hi Tim,

    respect & courage! I’ve been in a similar situation when Greenpeace & RAN did actions to save the Great Bear Rainforest at the Westcoast of Canada in 1997 and 1998. Jail will sure have its difficult moments, but you’ll manage knowing that there’s a lot of support for you and your ideals out there. Jail sentence is an action in itself and as the article says: the government’s strategy will surely backfire on them!

    All the best with the campaign,

    Marleen Van Poeck
    Greenpeace activist

  6. kaleilw says:

    Okay, we all know how unfair this verdict is due to the fact that the auction was illegal, and that Christopher offered to pay for the land, but how could the jury not do their homework and discover these facts for themselves? Give me a break, are we that dumbed down that not one among the 12 jurors was smart enough to figure this out?
    My hope is that Christopher’s sentence is suspended.

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