DeChristopher: Our Children Are Calling To Us, Unite In a Powerful, Nonviolent Fist

“I understand that prison is a very horrible place, but I have been scared for my future for a long time and I think the scariest thing that I see is staying on the path that we are on now. Obedience, to me, is far scarier then going to prison.”

Tim DeChristopher

Yesterday in Salt Lake City, Utah, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was found guilty for taking a stand and blocking a bogus auction of oil leases in that state during the waning days of the Bush administration. Here are his words, and the video of his speech after the verdict. Watch it now, and whenever you are feeling in need of inspiration. DeChristopher is a moving speaker whose words come from his heart. From

What the world wanted to see was how you would react. And you have reacted with joy and resolve. You’ve shown that your power will not be intimidated by any power that they have, and that’s the most important thing that’s happened here this week.

Because everything that happened inside that building tried to convince me that I was alone and that I was weak. They tried to convince me that I was like a little finger out there on my own that could easily be broken. And all of you out here were the reminder for all of us that I wasn’t just a finger all alone in there, but that I was connected to hand with many fingers that could be united together as one fist, and that fist could not be broken by the power that they have in there.


That fist is not a symbol of violence. That fist is a symbol that we will not be mislead into thinking that we are alone. We will not be lied to and told that we are weak. We will not be divided and we will not back down. That fist is a symbol that we are connected and that we are powerful. It’s a symbol that we hold true to our vision of a healthy and just world and that we are building the self empowering movement to make it happen. All those authorities in there wanted me to think like a finger but our children are calling to us to think like a fist.

And we know that now I’ll have to go prison, we know that now that is the reality. But that’s just the job that I have to do. That’s the role that I face. Many before me have gone to jail for justice and if we are going to achieve our vision many after me will have to join me as well.

No one ever told us that this battle would be easy. No one ever told us that we wouldn’t have to make sacrifices. We knew that when we started this fight.

Every wave on the ocean that has ever risen up and refused to lay back down has been dashed on the shore, but it is the very purpose of a wave to rise up, because once it rises up above the horizon it finally has the perspective to see that it’s not just a wave, that it’s a part of a mighty ocean. And the sharpest rock on the wildest shore can never break that ocean apart, they can never wear that ocean down, because it’s the ocean that shapes the shore.

That’s what we’re starting to do here today. That’s what we’re starting to do here this week. With wave after wave after wave crashing against that shore, we shape it to our vision. Thank you all for being a part of that.

More links:

Bill McKibbon on Tim DeChristopher Trial

Robert Redford: Bidder 70

Tim DeChristopher Takes The Stand: “I felt I could be powerful enough”

Bidder 70 Opened Our Eyes

0 thoughts on “DeChristopher: Our Children Are Calling To Us, Unite In a Powerful, Nonviolent Fist”

  1. Don’t try and obscure the facts with bravado. You committed fraud for no purpose. Your actions did nothing to help the environment. They did nothing to help anything. You merely delayed the sale of the oil lease, made us that much more dependent on foreign oil, and wasted large sums of taxpayer money. Now, unlike others, I will not call you a terrorist. Unlike certain would-be-heroes in Britain who tried to shut down power plants (ironically, significantly increasing pollution), your actions did not put anyone at risk of their life. For that, you have my thanks. Instead, I will call you a fool. You have wasted your life for a best-case scenario of gaining nothing.

    If your fist wants to effect change, then take REAL action. Build a nuclear power plant; build a hydroelectric dam; build a electric vehicle recharging station; build anything (aside from those environmentally nightmarish bird cuisinarts). These attempts to tear down fossil fuels are doomed without having a SUPERIOR replacement.

    In short, grow up. The only way to replace anything is to build something better.

    • You seem misinformed on a number of things, Ben. I won’t address what Alan already has, but I will point out that your statement that Tim DeChristopher “delayed” the oil leases is inaccurate. In fact, they were canceled altogether by the new administration. (“Bush-era oil leases in Utah cancelled” – )
      You seem to be outraged on behalf of those oil companies, who weren’t allowed to “drill baby drill”, despite the fact that, at best, these lands will produce only 1.5 hours of the oil the U.S. uses in a whole year (see above article). I, instead, agree with Robert Redford who said about the cancellation of the leases “I see this announcement as a sign that after eight long years of rapacious greed and backdoor dealings, our government is returning a sense of balance to the way it manages our lands.”
      And, also Tim DeChristopher:
      “This auction was a fraud against the American people and a threat to our future,” DeChristopher said. “My motivation to act came against the exploitation of public lands, the lack of a transparent and participatory government and the imminent danger of climate change.”
      Personally, I prefer the company I have on my side of this discussion.

    • “The only way to replace something is to build something better”.

      Tim was and is trying to build something better. He put himself on the line to inspire others to action and build a social movement capable of forcing change from carbon-intensive energy sources to cleaner ones. Sure, you can sit at home on the internet and exhort people to stay politically apathetic and wait for a magic techno-fix that will be cheaper than fossil fuels and able to overcome the political influence of the fossil lobby. It’s pretty darn easy to criticize people trying to do something about climate change, after all (it’s still getting warmer so they must all be failures, or ‘fools’ right?).

      Or, Ben, you can be a man like Tim and go out and do something political, courageous, and inspirational to thousands around the world. Your choice.

  2. Ben there are superior and sustainable replacements. Wind, water and solar energy sources will not run out as will fossil fuels and they are sufficient to meet all of the world’s energy needs, using existing technology, according to Jacobson and Delucchi reporting first in Scientific American (Nov. 2009) and most recently in “Energy Policy”. You can get details on my website (click on my name).


  3. A superior replacement to fossil fuels? Anything that doesn’t destroy the world my grandchildren have to live in would be a start. Your economic arguments are essentially invalid so long as they do not take into account the long-term costs of fossil fuel use–and they do not. As for the legality or illegality of Mr. DeChristopher’s actions, I look forward to the day when the legal consequences of an action are a match for the ecological consequences, and where it is the polluters who are punished, not those who would protect the environment.


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