In Seattle in support of the historic trial of the Delta 5, Tim DeChristopher gave this extraordinary speech the day after, summarizing the week’s events and expounding on the meaning and moral implications of civil disobedience. The Pacific Northwest is fast becoming a corridor for fossil fuel development against the will of the vast majority of the population and most of their leaders. In September 2014, five citizens placed themselves in the way of that system by blocking a train carrying highly volatile crude oil from the Bakken shale, declaring it necessary to avert climate catastrophe.

What made the trial historic is that the judge allowed the defendants to use the “Necessity Defense”- rarely allowed in civil disobedience cases, arguing and presenting evidence that they had no choice but to break the law.  The Jury found them guilty of trespassing but not guilty of blocking the train, raising questions jury nullification, which DeChristopher also thoroughly addressed in this talk.

Tim DeChristopher became world famous December 19, 2008, when he disrupted an illegitimate BLM Oil and Gas lease auction in Utah near Canyonlands and Arches National Parks witch the outgoing Bush administration had tried to slide under the radar.  The auction was invalidated two months later but DeChristopher served 21 months in prison.  “Bidder 70”, the movie about this action won 20 international film awards.  After his release, Tim entered Harvard University Divinity School to become a Unitarian Universalist minister.

Thanks to University Unitarian Church


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Program Details
Episode S5E4
Broadcast Week Jan 24th 2016
Duration 00:58:00
Audience Rating TV-G
Genre Action
Theme Academic & Education
Language English

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