Q&A About Mass Direct Action Against Climate Crime

We received many questions about mass direct action against climate crime before the 10/10/10 Dig in for Climate Justice! So here are some of the common questions and answers:

Q: But isn’t this illegal?

A: Taking direct action to prevent a greater harm is the lawful and proper thing for citizens to do. Direct action against climate crime is lawful and proper in the same way it as breaking into a house to put out a fire or save a life is. Greenpeace provides one example where a UK jury ruled that their activists had a 'lawful excuse' for painting on the smokestack of a coal fired power plant even though it cost over $50,000 to remove. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/kingsnorth-trial-verdict100908/

But lawful and proper does not mean you can't get into legal trouble, in most cases the courts side with the climate criminals.

Q: Will people get arrested?

A:  The chances of any arrests are fairly small. However, some people will be prepared to risk arrest if the police intervene. here will be legal information available at all of the Teach-Ins leading up to the action:

Delta: Saturday March 19, 1-4 pm @ Ladner United Church, 4960 48 Ave
Vancouver: Saturday March 26, 1-4 pm @ Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, 1803 E. 1st Ave
Surrey: Saturday April 9, 1-4 pm @ Kwantlen University, Room D-128 (Fir Bldg.), 12666 72 Ave

There will be legal information available on site on April 22nd.

There are also important roles for people to fill that pose almost no risk of arrest, and we recommend that people think carefully about their own circumstances and be fully informed about the possible consequences before risking arrest.

Q: But won’t this kind of action discredit us, even if there is a lawful basis for the action?

A:  This kind of action is of course controversial but support for Mass Direct Action against climate crime is widespread.

Recently Bill McKibben founder of 350.org, Phil Radford executive director of Greenpeace USA, and Rebecca Tarbotton executive director of the Rainforest Action Network wrote “Time is not on our side, so we've concluded that going forward mass direct action must play a bigger role in this movement, as it eventually did in the suffrage movement, the civil-rights movement, and the fight against corporate globalization.” http://www.grist.org/article/2010-09-05-call-for-direct-action-in-climate-movement-we-need-your-ideas .

Numerous local groups have also endorsed mass direct actions against climate crime, such as the 10/10/10 Dig in for Climate Justice!

Q: Are people from the communities directly impacted by the SFPR freeway involved?

A: People who live near the SFPR route in Delta and Surrey are directly involved in organzing this action, and local groups have endorsed past mass direct actions.

Q:  Are there practical solutions for goods movement without the SFPR freeway?

A: There is no reason that large numbers of container trucks should be using River Road, or driving on a new highway along that route. Containers to and from Delta Port should be moved by barge and rail, not truck. This is both practical and cost effective. For example see http://www.livableregion.ca/blog/blogs/index.php/2008/08/27/mla_guy_gentner_s_sfpr_vs_short_sea_ship

Q: Wouldn’t a new freeway reduce idling, and therefore reduce GHG emissions and local pollution?

A: The evidence that building new roads and freeways leads to increased traffic, pollution, and GHG emissions is overwhelming. The government has mounted a disinformation campaign on this, and confused some people. But even the data in their own studies shows increased emissions and pollution due to freeway construction.
See http://wildernesscommittee.org/publication/edu_report/gateway_global_warming and http://www.livableregion.ca/pdf/Cooking_the_Books_Report_Final_05-02-07.pdf

Other answers to your questions might be found in the Wilderness Committee’s Top 10 Gateway Myths at http://wildernesscommittee.org/top_ten_gateway_myths

Myth 1: Gateway will create Many Jobs
Myth 2: Gateway will Reduce Carbon Emissions
Myth 3: Gateway will Solve Traffic Congestion
Myth 4: The Gateway Freeways are part of a Balanced Approach
Myth 5: We Need Bigger Ports Now!
Myth 6: Gateway will not Cause Sprawl
Myth 7: Public Transit South of the Fraser River is a Bad Investment
Myth 8: Tolling the Port Mann Bridge will Reduce Congestion and Pay for Construction
Myth 9: Burns Bog is not Threatened by Gateway
Myth 10: Gateway is a "Done Deal"