Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stand for What's Right and You'll Never Stand Alone

Amtrak is on lockdown, so I'm still stuck in Portland. The Lib Tech Dark review is going to have to wait because I just came across two stories I need to share. These are two examples of what I think of when the word 'hero' comes up.

First is Tim DeCristopher (photo at right), a University of Utah student who posed as a bidder at a BLM auction. DeChristopher succeeded in 'buying' 22,000 acres of land intended for oil and gas drilling around National Parks land in southern Utah. The rub is, he has no intention of paying for the land, which can't go up for auction again until after Obama is sworn in. Read the full story here.

This guy has a pair of stones that would put that pebble in Raiders of the Lost Ark to shame. Imagine taking your last exam of the term, driving down to a government building, casually signing up for a government land auction and systematically driving up prices and purchasing land to the tune of millions of dollars, then being discovered as a wrencher and being escorted out by federal agents. Never having a guarantee of anyone to back you up. Jail time is not out of the question. In my mind, this guy qualifies for man of the year. I might just set up a Google alert to follow the case. My favorite quote of his was this:

"I knew that as bad as this could possibly turn out, if I ended up going to prison, then I could live with that. But if I saw an opportunity to protect the land of southern Utah and I saw an opportunity to keep some oil in the ground and give us a better chance for a livable future and I passed up that opportunity, then I wouldn’t be able to live with that."

I nearly lost it right there. Dictionary definition of integrity. Would I be placed in a similar situation, I hope I could perform as admirably. Mr. DeChristopher, America owes you!

The second story of brazen activism comes from across the Atlantic in the land of Aston Martin, Austin Powers and Jenny Jones (there, now it's a snowboarding story). An unidentified saboteur broke into a power plant, scaled 20-feet of electrified razor-wire fencing and shut down a 500 megawatt turbine, then left a tag of, 'no new coal' before disappearing into the night. I came across the story on Fast Company, but I don't know if it qualifies as news as it happened two weeks ago. Like they say, not much coverage of it stateside. I guess we wouldn't want to encourage that sort of behaviour so it's best to keep mum. The best part about it is the activist may have a solid legal defense. According to the article, if he or she 'acted to save lives' (Brittain's climate change emissions did decrease by 2% due to the action) a precedent has been set for the defense. Well, that would never fly in the good ole USA, but kudos to the Brits. No word yet on the reaction from the residents who missed their sitcoms or had their WoW raids cut short because of the power outage. Definitely one part Banksy and one part ballsy. I'm hoping it was a female, so we could introduce her to Tim DeChristopher and breed a new army of super-activists to get this world on track. That might take too long, though, so maybe we should all just follow their lead, get off our asses and make it happen. Be the change. Live without dead time.

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