Archive for the 'Online Organizing' Category

Breaking: Tim DeChristopher sentenced to 2 years in prison, taken immediately into custody

(Cross-posted from

Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to 2 years in prison today at the Salt Lake City federal courthouse. He was taken immediately into custody, being denied the typical 3 weeks afforded to put his affairs in order and say goodbye to his friends and family.

Federal prosecutors asked for Tim to receive an extra harsh prison sentence in an effort to intimidate the movement that stands with him. They hoped that by condemning him to years behind bars, they would “make an example out of him” and deter all of us from taking meaningful action. But Tim is already an example. He’s an example of the courageous acts that people across our movements are taking to fight for justice and a liveable future. We support Tim by continuing to organize. Our response to this sentence is an affirmation: we will not be intimidated.  What’s your response?

The government’s statement is clear. Tim has been sentenced to 2 years as punishment for his politics; for the uncompromising content of his speeches and organizing in the two years since his act of civil disobedience protected 150,000 acres of land. Ironically, his principled views and motivations behind his actions he took were never allowed to enter a courtroom, due to their “irrelevance.” In a highly political trial, the jury was unjustly stripped of its right to be their community’s conscience and manipulated into making a political prisoner of a peaceful and concerned young man.

Tim DeChristopher

Author and activist Terry Tempest Williams said, “To think that a young man in an act of conscience might [do any amount of time] in a federal prison for raising a paddle in an already illegal sale of oil and gas leases, compared to the CEO of BP or the financial wizards on Wall Street who have pocketed millions of dollars at our expense  – and who will never step into a court of law to even get their hands slapped, let alone go to jail, is an assault on democracy.”

She’s right. But we have the power to turn this assault on democracy into a battle for democracy. Today the Salt Lake City community is expressing both their love and their outrage.

Fossil fuel lobbyists knew that Tim would be indicted the evening before it was officially filed, Jury members explained that they were intimidated throughout the process. The fossil fuel industry should not control our justice system.

Unless we decide to respond accordingly, as Tim serves his time, the real criminals — the fossil fuel industry wrecking our planet and our communities — will continue to run free, unaccountable for the countless oil spills, asthma attacks, contaminated waterways, cancer clusters, and carbon seeping into the air we breathe every day. If the justice system is intent on prosecuting the people protecting rather than pillaging the planet, we must confront the real criminals ourselves. With our heads held high, we continue to stand on the moral high-ground – and will do what’s right, despite the consequences. We know that mother nature’s consequences of inaction are far harsher than any imposed by a court system.

But we are not isolated individuals. We come together with our communities as groups of empowered agents of change who know our system is broken and does not represent us. Our communities represent us, and our vision of a resilient, just, and sustainable world that we are fighting for.

Tim’s sentence is a call to action.

For those of us who’ve been following his story fervently, our hearts were broken today. It is a sad moment. But we now have an opportunity and a responsibility to act on those feelings of hurt and outrage. For Tim’s sacrifice to truly mean something, for the spark it ignites in each of us to burn, we all must take action.

2011 has already become a year of peaceful uprisings around the country. As Tim once said, we were never promised that it would be easy. We know it will take courage, sacrifice and a willingness to sustain our resistance in our fight for real Justice. Tim has taken a step and we will take the next thousand.

Here are a few upcoming action opportunities to join:

We’ll see you on the streets,

Peaceful Uprising and Tim’s community of courage.

On Mother’s Day, Hundreds of Events for iMatter March

In 25 countries on five continents, the next generation of youth climate activists are participating in the iMatter march by taking to the streets and to the courts to demand action. Here at It’s Getting Hot in Here, we have seen a youth climate movement explode in Montreal, grow up (quite literally) organizing events like Power Shift, and launching organizations like, Summer of Solutions, the Indian Youth Climate Network, and so many more.
Yet, sometimes when the energy starts to flag you look back and realize there is another generation, even younger and with new passion, learning from the tools built by organizations like and to bring more young people than ever together to take on the climate challenge. Today is one of the those days and I am very excited to welcome a generation of teenagers who have been fighting their whole life as a teenager for action on global warming. Today, the work of one of the these teenagers, joined by hundreds of organizers like himself, has come to fruition at the iMatter March. Let’s hear them in their own words:
“We trust our leaders to protect the planet, but our government is more focused on profits than our futures,” said Alec Loorz, the 16-year-old visionary of iMatter, who has been tirelessly working on the issue of climate change and global sustainability for the past three years. “World leaders aren’t moving fast enough to confront this crisis, so my generation is stepping up to demand progress. It’s not about money or convenience – our future is at stake.”
The iMatter movement has grown quickly because youth worldwide feel the urgency of the crisis and are ready to stand up for themselves. Overwhelmingly the marches have been organized by teens no older than 16, mobilizing for the first time around an issue they know will affect their future. Among the 100+ marches are:
· San Francisco, CA: iMatter founder Alec Loorz will be joined by Ted Turner, Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard and other teens, parents and grandparents from across California.
· Salt Lake City, UT: A team of high school students and their mentors have announced a marching parade with walking “floats” organized by different groups. When the Utah Department of Transportation imposed stiff fees and unreasonable roadblocks to getting a permit, the kids approached the Utah ACLU to fight these unconstitutional limits on free speech. More at
· Kuwait City, Kuwait: The 17 year-old son of an oil executive has organized a march of his peers.
· Munich, Germany: Led by 13 year old Felix Finkbeiner, who leads Plant for the Planet, a non-profit organization of youth worldwide who are committed to planting one million trees per country.  Felix and his friends are leading 4 marches in Germany and two in Mexico.
“If we wait any longer to start decisive action against global warming, our children are likely to face drastic consequences,” said Dr. James Hansen, one of the nation’s leading climatologists, who will be joining the Washington, DC march with his grandchildren.
Earlier this week, young people nationwide initiated legal and administrative actions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government to force action on climate change. This effort is the first time climate litigation has ever gone back to the bedrock legal principal that the government must protect the public trust. It’s being led by a high-profile legal team,  including former Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and his firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.

Continue reading ‘On Mother’s Day, Hundreds of Events for iMatter March’

Storytellers Needed: Fire this world up

Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood

Did you just go to Power Shift 2011? If so, you probably participated in the largest grassroots organizing training in our movement’s history. Hopefully, you learned how to tell your story of what motivates you to do this work and rise to the climate challenge. Perhaps you learned how to tell the story of your community, the struggles, hopes, and challenges of your friends, neighbors, dorm-mates, or co-workers.

I think you might have learned how to the story of now, why now is the time to get involved, to make the change needed to head off the climate crisis and build a clean energy economy strong enough to pull us out of the financial wreckage our out-of-control Wall street banks left us.

Guess what? Those stories can move people, motivate your friends and family to join the fight, and fire up a nationwide movement. However, you don’t have to always tell those stories one at a time. You can tell them to thousands of our friends, to our movement. I want to read these stories and learn about you, why you get up to take on climate change, your struggles, your victories.

So, consider It’s Getting Hot in Here an extension of your voice. The megaphone you need to tell the world, your movement, and your new friends all about you. We just broke two million views, so somebody out here is paying attention. Once you tell your story, stick around. You are going to learn from people, from all over the country, who just like you, care a whole hell of lot.

They may be nearby or clear across the country, organizing at an Ivy League or in the hollers of Appalachia, but if you read their stories, hear their heartbreak, their tears of joy, and their brilliant, beautiful ideas, you will slowly change.

They will become your new friends, your allies, those whose work keeps you going during the tough times and those who celebrate with you in the best of times. We need you and you will grow to find you need them too.

So, if you are that storyteller, email me: richard[at] and let’s get you started telling your stories right here on It’s Getting Hot in Here. All my love and in solidarity for a future worth fighting for.

Join Tim DeChristopher, Wendell Berry, & Others on April 12 to Discuss Principled Activism

By Scott Gast, Orion magazine:

It’s been a bold few months for citizen climate action.

In March, University of Utah graduate student Tim DeChristopher was convicted for derailing an oil and gas auction that would have sold off a huge chunk of Utah’s public land. And in February, thirteen Kentuckians, including farmer and writer Wendell Berry, walked into their governor’s office and refused to leave until they got what they wanted: a promise from the governor to pay attention, finally, to the havoc wreaked on Kentucky by mountaintop-removal coal mining.

Not going to Powershift? Or looking for an extra dose of inspiration before trekking to DC next weekend? Here’s a chance to hear from the activists themselves:

On April 12, at 7 pm Eastern, 4 pm Pacific, Orion magazine will host Tim DeChristopher, Wendell Berry, and Teri Blanton (Teri joined Wendell for the Kentucky Rising sit-in in February) for a free, live web discussion.

The group will discuss how climate activism is changing, what can be learned from the peaceful uprisings in Wisconsin and the Middle East, and take audience questions.

Register for this free web event, here:

Tim, Wendell, and the members of Kentucky Rising are reminders of the real challenge in front of each of us: matching belief with action. With all the bold activism we’ve seen recently, is there a better time to stand up and speak for the future?

Google to the Rescue?

Google For Nonprofits Marketplace
Img. © Google

Just as it has been getting grim for advocates for climate science and small nonprofits everywhere, Google just announced two major initiatives that hopefully put a little wind in the sails for those beating against the tide.

Google has announced their new Google for Nonprofits program that offers a one-stop application for Google Adwords, Apps, YouTube, Google Earth and more. While many of the organizations and campaigns I have worked with over the years rely heavily on Google tools, this is an effort to make it far easier and simpler for organizations to get access and learn how to use them effectively. They also have setup a Google for Nonprofits Marketplace to connect nonprofits with organizations and consultants able to put these tools to work.

If you are reading this and you are thinking of starting a nonprofit, or you are at a small nonprofit and you feel like technology is always a struggle, this really makes it easy. I am helping a few groups go through this process and if anyone needs help, drop me a line, but they are making it easier than ever.

The other initiative is very exciting to people who care about climate science and have watched horrified as climate deniers have abused public relations techniques and tricked the media in generating fake controversy, forestall action, and create a generational divide in the understanding of climate science. has brought together a team of 21 climate researchers to communicate on the issue of climate change. The Google Science Communication Fellows are a number of climate scientists who will be provided with training on new media, data-sharing, and communications, SolveClimate reported.

“, the technology giant’s philanthropic arm, has hand-picked a team of 21 fellows working in climate research to improve the way the science of global warming is communicated to the public and lawmakers through new media. “We are seeing very clearly with climate change that our policy choices are currently not grounded in knowledge and understanding,” said Paul Higgins, a Google fellow and an associate policy director for the American Meteorological Society.”

It is really exciting to Google come out swinging on climate science. Edmund Burke famously once said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Google is starting to live up to their motto of “Don’t be Evil” by doing something. Now, it is time of us to step up and use these tools for good.

How Online Activists Have Got Nestlé on the Run

Making the rounds of online environmental media this past week, I’ve hardly been able to help but notice what must be one of the most impressive examples of online grassroots organizing I’ve ever seen: a major effort to hold Nestlé accountable for its use of rainforest-destroying palm oil.  Though the campaign was initiated by Greenpeace, it now seems to have in many ways taken on a life of its own.  Online activists have, among other things, flooded Nestlé’s Facebook page to become “un-fans” and register their concern that the palm oil used by Nestlé is driving deforestation in Indonesia – which is threatening one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world while also turning a major carbon sink into a giant source of global warming pollution.

As someone who thinks a lot about creative activism, I’ve been impressed with how effectively Greenpeace has utilized YouTube and Facebook to kick off this campaign.  It seems to have started with the creation of a YouTube video (below) that Nestlé tried to censor, which links palm oil-containing products like the KitKat to destruction of rainforests and the last remaining areas of orangutan habitat in Indonesia.  According to most reports, Nestlé’s attempt to suppress the video backfired, encouraging angry online activists to make the clip go viral on the Internet, comment on Nestlé’s Facebook page, and send over 100,000 complaints to the company through a Greenpeace email tool.  Greenpeace reports Nestlé is now blocking their emails, but urges people to give the company a call and demand it sever ties with destructive palm oil.

Continue reading ‘How Online Activists Have Got Nestlé on the Run’

Call to action by Naomi Klein, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Dr. James Hansen and Peaceful Uprising

[The following was co-written by Naomi Klein, author of #1 international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, Terry Tempest Williams, world renowned wildlife author, Bill Mckibben, founder of and author of The End Of Nature, and Dr. James Hansen, author of Storms of my Grandchildren, and who is regarded as the world's leading climatologist. All recognize the trial of Tim DeChristopher to be a turning point in the climate movement. Please visit our resource page for more information]

Dear Friends,

The epic fight to ward off global warming and transform the energy system that is at the core of our planet’s economy takes many forms: huge global days of action, giant international conferences like the one that just failed in Copenhagen, small gestures in the homes of countless people.

But there are a few signal moments, and one comes next month, when the federal government puts Tim DeChristopher on trial in Salt Lake City. Tim—“Bidder 70”– pulled off one of the most creative protests against our runaway energy policy in years: he bid for the oil and gas leases on several parcels of federal land even though he had no money to pay for them, thus upending the auction. The government calls that “violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act” and thinks he should spend ten years in jail for the crime; we call it a noble act, a profound gesture made on behalf of all of us and of the future. Continue reading ‘Call to action by Naomi Klein, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Dr. James Hansen and Peaceful Uprising’

Tell Toyota COO to Put the Brakes on Climate Change & the US Chamber

photo: MoveOn Flickr

You’ve probably heard about the Toyota vehicle recall, related to sticking accelerators.  But did you know that despite selling the Prius as the eco-conscious vehicle of choice, Toyota is still a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most backwards trade group on climate?

Well, we have an opportunity to ask why.

On Monday, Digg is sponsoring a live dialog with Toyota’s US President and Chief Operating Officer, Jim Lentz.  Just like  CitizenTube, our question will be asked if enough people vote for it – so digg it now! Continue reading ‘Tell Toyota COO to Put the Brakes on Climate Change & the US Chamber’

Make our site better – 5 min survey for readers and writers

Hello intrepid readers and writers of The blog is 5 years old, started during the Montreal COP11 conference, and in that time we have all contributed to making this a huge communal resource.  Can you help us grow more by doing the site a 5 minute favor?

Our movement benefits from the breadth and quality of stories and opinions shared here. Activists in Oregon can benefit from action ideas from Australia. On-the-ground activists fighting coal in West Virginia engage in discussion with San Francisco think tanks.  Climate activists share stories from around the world. We help the movement grow by broadcasting amazing victories, like the Green Job/Green New York Act and stopping a 1000 MW coal plant in Meigs Co Ohio.

In 5 years, these efforts created a blog that has huge authority on the web, and is read by everyone from journalists to activists to policy makers.  As we upgrade to a new decade, we’re upgrading the this site based on your feedback.

The IGHIH editors have put together a survey to collect input from readers, writers and partner organizations so we can better serve you and the climate movement. Thank you so much for your feedback!

Take the 5 min Survey

A Time For Pragmatism

Cell-phone camera of 100,000 marching for climate change

@UNFCCC #COP15 #FAIL. You could have tweeted it before any arriving delegates strolled from their jets to their waiting limos. All that sign waving (and wow was there a lot of it!) inspired millions waving their own banners at home, but the windowless plenary wasn’t paying attention. A significant number of anarchists got beat up and gave the mainstream media their cover story. In the end we observed a handful of rich countries smoking cigars in a backroom, playing dice with human life. The UN, of course, did “take note.” So did we, and clearly we’re not clicking any “Like” buttons on this one.

What are we going to do? Shout louder? Damn straight. Sign 365 new petitions before COP16? Hell yes. Consolidate our resources into the most powerful lobbying organization in the world? YE… um, what?

Not kidding. There are limits to non-violence. We’ve reached them. It’s time to enter the ring, line the gloves with brass knuckles and bloody the opposition. I mean that figuratively. Put the brass knuckles down.

In concrete terms, we must, right now, consolidate our movement, enlist the best of the best lobbyists, persuade middle-America into a sustainability frenzy and get ourselves elected to local government where we can be most effective. Our united campaign must start immediately. We’ve got until the elections next November.

That’s the general vision. Details after the jump.
Continue reading ‘A Time For Pragmatism’

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