The World According to Humphrey

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Bidder #70

Posted by humphreysworld on July 26, 2011

Does the name Tim DeChristopher sound familiar to you? If you are an environmentalist or work for an environmental organization as I do, you know the name well. But if not, let me tell you who he is. He’s the guy who stood up the big oil and gas fat cats so that we could have the opportunity to continue to enjoy mother nature the way God intended it. He’s the guy that did what the former administration refused to do, which was to halt the sale of parcel for oil and gas leases. He’s the guy that’s just been sentenced to two years in prison for trying to do the right thing by our land.

And he, my friends, is a hero.

Tim might not think of himself that way; he’s a very humble person so he would probably just say he was doing the right thing. But any act of civil disobedience in the name of protecting the rights of others (in this case, our environment) is heroic to me. Tim’s story is this:

He attended the auction of parcels in Utah with no intention other than to check out what was going on. When he arrived, he was handed auction paddle #70. And in an effort to protect the land from being leased to the oil and gas industry, and idea came to him: He decided to bid on the land himself. To the tune of 22,000 acres. Did Tim have the $1.7 million dollars to pay for the land? Nope. Did it prevent the industry cronies from grabbing that land for the purposes of destroying it? You bet. And his bidding on the land caused the cost of the land to drive up. Had he not stepped in, the industry would’ve not only purchased the land for their disgusting deed, but they would have gotten it at at a steal. I can’t take myself to the movies these days without dropping $20 bucks but the industry was going to rip off the government- and the people- at bargain basement prices.

And that is the reason they allege he is guilty. Because his act of civil disobedience caused harm. To the people? No no, we the people aren’t harmed in anyway his decision to bid on the land. No, he’s guilty because he caused harm to the industry. THE INDUSTRY. The case against him was not framed as such, although it’s pretty transparent. Rather they claim he was attempting to defraud the government. Interesting.

I’ll tell you what is a fraud. For starters, a fraud is the process in itself. The Bush administration was attempting to give a gift to his rich pig friends in the industry by waiving the requirement that bidders show proof of their ability to pay for the land. A fraud is cheating the American public out of our last wild places by gift-wrapping them to the industry for exploitation. A fraud is holding office and, rather than advocating on behalf of your constituents who want to protect the environment, you trade in your conscience for a week-long stay on the island of your choice courtesy of the oil and gas lobby and turn the other cheek to the environmental destruction in your own backyard.

What DeChristopher did was what no one in Congress or the administration cared to do: he took a stand against the industry, an industry hell bent on drilling/blasting/pillaging every wild place (and even some not so wild) we have left.

There is a bit of good news. The Obama administration ended up canceling most of the sales because of doubts on the Bush leasing plan. And more importantly, Tim exposed an issue that has been going on for too long. He also started a nonprofit, Peaceful Uprising, which “seeks to change the institutional and social status quo at the root of the climate crisis, and move toward a just and healthy world.” Unfortunately he will be paying the price for it.

I admire Tim for what he has done, as well as anyone throughout history who has taken a courageous stand to change the discord in America. Climate change is one of the biggest threats to our world. This is not hippie mumbo jumbo as the coal, oil, gas, chemical industry would have you believe. Our climate is changing every day. And to state the obvious, if we destroy our planet, where the fuck are we supposed to live?

Tim is just one man, one man who saw an injustice and stood up. All it takes is one. I encourage each of you to take a stand against this environmental calamity. Take a stand for your children, nieces, brothers, sisters, parents, neighbors, etc. Climate change is real and you have the power to do something about it. We don’t need a new Tim DeChristopher in this fight, we need you.

For more information on the case, the issue and how you can get involved, check out some of these organizations.


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