Saturday, September 01, 2012

“Bidder 70,” not DeChristopher, coming to Rochester, NY to talk about Climate Change


Bidder 70” is coming to Rochester, NY for the Greentopia Festival to talk about Climate Change on Friday, September 14, 2012, but not Tim DeChristopher because the fossil fuel industry had him thrown in prison for outsmarting them. The fossil fuel industry did that because they have an infinite supply of fantastically expensive lawyers who convinced the federal government that a private citizen shouldn’t try to protect our public lands from being exploited by them and warming the planet.

The truth is that the fossil fuel industries were really annoyed. Tim had so befuddled them by walking into a public meeting, filled with the incredibly rich fossil fuel industry bidders, and out-bid them with only his knowledge of what manmade Climate Change is doing to his generation. So, they threw the full weight of the US government on a man armed with only his brains. They thought they had so much money that they could out-bid anyone but were outflanked by a citizen who just started bidding on what was essentially his and our land. Stupidly, the fossil fuel industry forgot to set up a byzantine procedure for bidding with all sorts of industry cooked-up credentials, as they usually do, so that Tim was able to just start bidding—and beat their pants off.

Here’s a description of all that:

One day in December 2008, 27-year-old Tim DeChristopher arrived at a Bureau of Land Management auction as a protestor; a few hours later, he left as nothing less than a hero. His spur-of-the-moment decision to impersonate a bidder (the “Bidder 70” of the film’s title) and fraudulently offer $1.8 million for 22,000 acres of Utah wilderness earmarked for oil exploration immediately propelled him to the front lines of environmental activism – and into the crosshairs of a federal prosecution that ultimately led to a two-year prison sentence. Thoughtful, optimistic and inspirational, Bidder 70 explores the nature of activism, and echoes DeChristopher’s commitment to his cause. George Gage, Director in attendance and recipient of Greentopia | FILM Fork in the Road Award.  Awards Human Rights Watch Film Festival | Official Selection
Traverse City Film Festival | 2012 Best American Film –from

But let’s get real. The question is not really, why is Tim in prison? The real question is why aren’t we all willing to move out of our comfort zone to address Climate Change? Why does it take a few heroes like Tim DeChristopher to get the rest of us to the do the right thing? Why did it take the abolitionists, and only a relatively few others, to rise up in order to avoid a war that killed 600 souls to stop slavery? Why couldn’t have all those people, North and South, who knew it was wrong to subjugate and exploit another people to just stop doing that and treat them as equal? And why, despite thirty years of proof and consensus by a majority of the scientists in the world, do a few folks have to sacrifice themselves to get the rest of us to address something as obvious as Climate Change?

2012 should be a time to examine ourselves and find out how we can move together to solve the most critical issue that has befallen our species—our complicity in warming the planet and threatening all life on it. But instead, we fight the change needed to move us away from the greenhouse gas emitting industry. Instead, we give into their crazy arguments—that they only they can provide enough jobs and supply us with sufficient power without being subsided by the government, which isn’t true.

Instead, we are getting pummeled by mainstream media, which is bloated by billions of dollars from a disastrous Supreme Court decision, that greenwashing the fossil fuel industry and denying Climate Change is OK. Except for this dismissal by Romney--Romney treats climate as a punchline-- and this off-hand remark by Obama--Obama tells crowd: “Denying climate change won’t make it stop” --, we are not getting informed on Climate Change, nor are we having a discussion during this presidential election year on it.

How can we get beyond such a delusional system that will surely cook our children? One way is to listen to the heroes of our time. A hero, a word too often misconstrued as someone who makes a lot of money at a sports activity, is rather an individual who scarifies themselves for the benefit of all. There are many heroes fighting to bring Climate Change to the forefront of the public’s attention, though few have endured the harsh sentence passed on to DeChristopher.

So, even though addressing Climate Change is the US official policy (see Administration Releases 10-Year Global Change Strategic Plan, that includes input from 13 departments of the government) we are acting as if we are outsourcing Climate Change responsibility to the developing countries.

Let’s stop being that way. Let’s get engaged with the most important issue of our time. Tim cannot come to Rochester, NY right now and talk to us about Climate justice. But you can watch Bidder 70 along with many other environmental activist films at the Greentopia Film Festival that try, despite a dysfunctional media and a ludicrous presidential election, to put a little reality into our lives:

Greentopia | FILM is the documentary film festival within the greater Greentopia festival, which corrals film, music, art - even cars and fashion - to explore the themes of sustainability and innovation, broadly applied. During September 11-15, we will screen more than a dozen documentaries on topics from glaciers and wind power to community, health and economic sustainability. There are parties, dinners, multimedia installations, and a kids program.  See for details, but below are the 12 feature docs that will be screening at Nazareth College, The Little Theatre, the Forrest Cinema (a repurposed bank building at 35 State St.), and one screening at Tinseltown of a gorgeous 3D large format-film about reefs - a rare family-friendly environmental film.

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