Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tim DeChristopher Presentation PDX UU Church 4/7/16

*Fell behind on keeping blog posts timely*

"2016 Sewell Lecture Presents: Tim DeChristopher as Bidder 70 disrupted an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in December of 2008 by outbidding oil companies for parcels around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. His actions and 21-month imprisonment earned him a an international media presence which he has used as a platform to spread the urgency of the climate crisis and the need fror bold, confrontational action to create a just and healthy world. Tim used his prosecution to organize the climate justice org Peaceful Uprising in Salt Lake City, and most recently, theCivil Disobedience Center."

Heralded climate activist Tim DeChristopher came to speak at the Universalist Unitarian Church a few weeks ago in Portland,Oregon and this was my takeaway after attending.

I appreciated his honest themes of basically we are kinda hosed, but how then shall we live? And what good and actual effective activism can we enlist in our efforts? It was a little murkier talking about his concept of love being the uniting factor...but I suppose this is rather open to interpretation about how we might implement this. He has a film coming up that speaks to this more.

And then the question about veganism came from the audience....and everything started to derail for me at that point.

First, Tim said that it has long been known consumer habits have minimal effects on the planet....this is highly debatable, if not outright untrue. What is driving all those extraction industries, if not our lifestyles?

Secondly, he disparaged the vegan movement as not having a sizable effort fighting animal ag....I guess like the way 350/GreenPeace are fighting climate change...? From my angle this is partly true, but there are many efforts in smaller sectors like Collectively Free, PETA and a host of other eco-concious plant-based endeavors.

Thirdly, he totally downplayed and trashed Cowspiracy...saying the director had as much credibility as "Glen Beck and Andrew Brietbart"....which actually left my jaw agape, staring across the aisle at fellow outraged vegans. You cannot get around the ginormous impact our use of animals has on our matter how you frame the movie. For someone in his position to make such damaging statements in front of hundreds of people....shameful.

Lastly, he basically made a jab at the " militant vegan"(paraphrasing, not his actual words) crowd by saying no one wants to work with an angry activist, which has some truth to it. However, I would charge that the reason so many vegans are incensed is they constantly have to wade through a mile deep of hypocrisy, wonky logic and gigantic blindspots to even begin a dialogue and have a place at the table. It is a challenge to be more composed and tolerant of others in our shared movements to end all systems of oppression....

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