This Day in History

Dec. 19, 2008: Tim DeChristopher Protests Bureau of Land Management

Time Periods: 2001-
Themes: Environment, Climate Justice

On Dec. 19, 2008, Tim DeChristopher of Peaceful Uprising protested a Bureau of Land Management auction of public land in Utah’s redrock country.

DeChristopher placed fake bids, an act of civil disobedience in which he disrupted a government oil and gas lease auction in order to protect fragile land in southern Utah from long term damage. He noted in a Democracy Now! interview:

I’ve seen the need for more serious action by the environmental movement and to protect a livable future for all of us. I’ve seen that need for a long time. And frankly, I’ve been hoping that someone would step up and someone would come out and be the leader and someone would put themselves on the line and make the sacrifices necessary to get us on a path to a more livable future. And I guess I just couldn’t wait any longer for that someone to come out there and had to accept the fact that that someone might be me.

He was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. This portrait from Americans Who Tell the Truth ($20 for poster) features the quote:

. . . those who write the rules are those who profit from the status quo. If we want to change that status quo, we might have to work outside of those rules because the legal pathways available to us have been structured precisely to make sure we don’t make any substantial change.

DeChristopher was interviewed by Bill Moyers and on Democracy Now! (see below) shortly after his release from prison.

Below are resources for teaching about environmental justice.