Old assumptions inadequate for climate crisis

BY TIM DeCHRISTOPHER : Reprinted from Institute for Public Accuracy

While our political leaders are pretending that being better than Trump is an adequate response to the climate crisis, the climate movement is boldly stepping up to the unprecedented challenge of climate change with courage and commitment. Just in the past few days since the presidential debate ignored climate change, there have been several bold acts of civil disobedience around the country. The sustained resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota had 29 people arrested on Monday for refusing to back down in the face of increasing repression and state violence. Four activists in New York spent all day Monday occupying the Spectra fracked gas pipeline that will run right next to the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant.

On Indigenous People’s Day, four water protectors crawled inside Spectra’s fracked-gas AIM pipe that is being built under the Hudson River. They stayed in the pipe for  nearly 17 hours. // photo by Erik R. McGregor


Then Tuesday, activists in four states shut down all five tar sands pipelines entering the U.S. from Canada. Ten people involved in that action remain in jail right now with bails that range from $5,000 to $75,000.

Activists are seen attempting to cut chains after trespassing into a valve station for pipelines carrying crude from Canadian oils sands into the U.S. markets near Clearbrook
Activists cut chains at a valve station for pipelines carrying tar sands oil near Clearbrook, Minnesota. //Photo from Climate Direct Action and ShutItDown


There is a stark divide between the politicians who seem incapable of thinking about the climate crisis outside of the boundaries of old assumptions about political feasibility and the activists who are making real sacrifices to treat climate change like the unprecedented crisis it is.  Al Gore is campaigning for Hilary Clinton without questioning her extreme support for fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure expansion, while Al Gore’s own daughter, Karenna, is currently facing a potential two-and-half-year jail sentence for protesting fracked-gas pipeline construction in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Too many failed centrist attempts to address climate change without standing up to the fossil fuel industry have taught honest pragmatists that we simply can’t deal with climate change in a non-confrontational way. Those failures have brought us to this point of record-breaking climate impacts. As the climate crisis quickly intensifies, the climate movement is committing to intensifying our efforts to defend a livable future, as yesterday’s huge pipeline shutdown demonstrated. We hope that our political leaders will join us.

DeChristopher is the founder of the Climate Disobedience Center and is featured in the award-winning film “Bidder 70.”

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