Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon; Arrogant climate vandals want the power to destroy or disrupt vital infrastructure without legal repercussions. Thankfully on this occasion at least, the judge said “no”.

Ordinary people trying to save the world

New film depicts the lives and struggles of climate activists

Patrick Mazza

In 2014, after actively working on the climate issue through conventional, legal means since the mid-1990s, frustrated by the continuing slide toward climate catastrophe, I engaged in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Five of us and our friends erected a tripod across a track in front of an oil train at the BNSF Delta Yard in Everett, Washington. The Delta 5, as we came to be known, held position on the tripod for the next eight hours. The action is portrayed in the opening scenes of The Race to Save the World, a documentary focusing on the lives and struggles of grassroots climate activists, including one of my partners in the Delta 5 action, Abby Brockway, who sat atop the tripod 18 feet in the air. (I show up in a few walk-ons through the film.) 

The movie also portrays our court trial, a seminal event in which we presented the first climate civil disobedience necessity defense in a U.S. courtroom, and the second in the world. We argued that though we broke the law, it was necessary to avert the greater harms of climate disruption and oil train explosions. More on that a little later. 

Judge Anthony Howard was persuaded to allow us to present a necessity defense. We brought on a number of expert witnesses on climate and oil train risks. After arguments were completed, he retired to his chambers to decide whether to let the jury consider the evidence. When the trial came back into session, he said, “These defendants are tireless advocates of the kind we need in this society to prevent the kind of catastrophic effects we see coming and that our politicians are ineffectively addressing.”  But he concluded we had not made the case that we had no reasonable legal alternative to breaking the law. In the end, we were convicted of 2nd degree criminal trespass and sentenced to two years on probation. We met members of the jury in the hall afterwards who told us they would have voted to acquit if they had been able to consider the necessity evidence. 

Read more:

The necessity defence makes sense if someone is in immediate mortal danger. If the only way to save someone involves committing an act which would normally be considered criminal, such as breaking someone elses window, or attacking an aggressor to prevent an assault, it is entirely reasonable for someone in those circumstances to be excused for their actions.

But it is utterly absurd to apply this defence to the alleged climate crisis. These climate criminals have no permission from society for their criminal actions, and nobody’s life is in immediate danger.

via Watts Up With That?

May 23, 2021