I don’t know how many success stories it takes, but here’s one chronicled in a 19-minute film called “A Time Comes.” Six nonviolent activists were found not-guilty in the United Kingdom. It was judged at trial that their trespass and the tens of thousands of dollars of damage they caused paled compared with the damage done by the emissions from Kingsnorth and other coal-fired power stations.
Activists broke into a 600-foot-tall chimney and spent nine hours climbing to the top.(They didn’t know there was no staircase.Hauling hundreds of pounds of rope and paint and such slowed them down.)They rappelled over the edge and painted “Gordon” in huge letters. They didn’t get to finish painting their message to then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
It was judged that their protest against the upcoming construction of additional coal-fired plants was sufficiently justified, given such officially declared necessities as reducing coal plants 80 percent by 2050.Such a victory for enlightened and risky protest, no doubt, has caused some upset amongst government and corporate players.
Coal.If you had to pick one energy industry that most exemplifies the dirty, damaging, wrong way to the future, it’s coal.Change your light bulbs, change your car, change your food focus. That said, to make the single biggest, future shaping change, get rid of coal-fired corporate dinosaurs – soon.Stop building new coal-fired power plants – now.(And don’t be bamboozled by the industry term “clean coal.”)
There are success stories out there.There are all kinds of exemplars out there.Many of them will be showcased January 14, 15, and 16 at the 9th Wild and Scenic Film Festival.“A Time Comes” (from a reference made by Martin Luther King: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”) is a fine, compact piece of video documentation.
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Q and A with “A Time Comes” producer Christina Robert
Chuck Jaffee: How did Martin Luther King's reference to "A time comes when silence is betrayal" find its way to being the title of your film?
Christina Robert: It just seems there is a parallel between civil rights and environmental justice.Martin Luther King gave great quotes. I hoped he could help, and he did.
CJ: Is it fair to say that "shut down Big Coal" is the single most-focused action we could pursue to address Global Warming (not to mention Big Coal's other debilitating effects)?
CR: Yes, we feel that since coal is 80% of the problem, getting rid of it could be 80% of the solution.
CJ: The legal triumph reported in this film seems both tiny and huge. How do you describe its significance?
CR: It was really triumphant news [in Britain] for anyone who is keen on mitigating climate change.One of the reasons it was important is that it was a trial by jury, and the jurors were not predisposed to the activists.What the trial proved was that, after the jury had been educated about climate change by the various experts who testified, choosing to protect the environment became an obvious decision.In other words, when the facts are on the table and people pay attention, it becomes blatantly obvious that not protecting our environment is suicide.
CJ: What sort of things need to happen to get the kind of radical activism seen in this film into the routine resolve of the consuming public and the governments that supposedly represent them?
CR: The film was meant to celebrate activism and make it accessible to all.I think it was Al Gore who said he couldn't believe more young people weren't lying down in front of bulldozers to stop new coal.We hope we showed that activism is done by real people - who are both ordinary and capable of being extraordinary … like all of us.