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July 25th, 2011 9:29 AM

Letter from Environmental Leaders on the Persecution of Tim DeChristopher

Dear Friends,

On July 26th 2011, climate activist Tim DeChristopher will be sentenced at the Salt Lake City federal courthouse. On March 3rd, Tim was found guilty of two felony counts for participating in a peaceful act of civil disobedience. A bright, charismatic young man could face up to ten years in federal prison, along with a $750,000 fine, for outbidding Big Coal and Big Oil as they attempted to quietly take thousands of acres of pristine lands from the public.

How will the Climate Justice Movement respond to this injustice?

The day of Tim’s [originally scheduled] sentencing marked the 23rd anniversary of the day that NASA scientist James Hansen first testified to Congress about the undeniable threat of skyrocketing carbon emissions. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Hansen made it perfectly clear to our leaders that the developed world’s addiction to fossil fuels puts in peril the very planet on which we rely for survival. 23 years later, we still find ourselves arguing semantics with a Congress determined to allow maximum legal and political flexibility for America’s largest polluters.

Everyday citizens around the nation are rediscovering the cherished American tradition of peaceful civil disobedience as a tool for social and political change. The climate justice movement must respond as one of our most powerful advocates faces a severe prison sentence for nonviolently and effectively taking a stand on our behalf. On July 26th, we invite you to organize a solidarity event at a federal courthouse near you. Stand in solidarity with Tim, and send your message loud and clear: “We will not be intimidatedWe will not sit idly by as our government uses Tim DeChristopher as an example to deter other activists. We will not compromise when it comes to defending our right to a healthy and just world.”

Whatever the outcome of Tim’s sentencing, we urge you take a stand. The survival of humankind must become our leaders’ top priority. Historically, social change has only occurred when ordinary citizens are empowered to stand up for their rights, and act. To accomplish this, we must work together. We will win this crucial battle only through an empowered, unified movement committed to principled, positive, and sustained resistance.

– Dr. James Hansen, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Ted Glick and many more environmental organizations and leaders

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