Willing to Spend Time in Jail Fighting for Environmental Justice?
Armed With Bolt Cutters, We Went To Four States And Closed All Five Major Tar Sands Pipelines Into The United States From Canada.
By Emily Johnston, http://www.alternet.org
February 19th, 2017
Two weeks ago, a jury in Skagit County, Washington, refused to convict my friend Ken Ward of two felonies: burglary and sabotage.What had Ken done? Like me, and like our other three friends, he had used bolt cutters to break two chains, and then used the emergency shutoff valve to close a tar sands pipeline. Between us, in four states, we closed all five major tar sands pipelines into the United States from Canada. Before doing this, we made calls to the pipeline companies, to ensure that they could follow their internal procedures to make this shutdown as safe as possible.
Why did we do this? Because our political system is utterly failing to forestall the looming climate catastrophe, and because tar sands oil is the dirtiest of all oils—as dirty as coal.
Citing a scientifically imaginary “tremendous controversy” about climate change, the judge hadn’t allowed Ken to present the necessity defense—a traditional common law defense that, for example, makes allowance for the moral necessity of breaking into a burning building to save a child. If the judge had allowed this, scientists would have explained that in fact, billions of children are in our burning planetary home, and the only way that we can save them is to stop burning fossil fuels. And the only way to do that without tremendous upheaval is to start right now with a rapid and resolute decrease in the use of the dirtiest fuels—tar sands oil and coal.
Some people say that climate activists like us want an “overnight” end to the use of fossil fuels, but this is exactly wrong—only if we start now do we avoid the need for such an abrupt end. If we wait even two or three more years, the situation will be so dire that only an essentially “overnight” end will save us. If we sacrifice a little now, we gain the world later…..
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