Looking back at 2011, this has certainly been the year of the protester, something that Time Magazine crystalized with its Person of the Year issue. Of course the magazine rightly mentions the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, but they neglected to write about one of the most significant protesters of the year: Tim DeChristopher. DeChristopher is currently serving two years in prison for disrupting a federal auction of land for natural gas and oil drilling.
From Festival Director David Holbrooke:
DeChristopher is at a minimum-security prison camp in Herlong, California about five hours northeast of San Francisco, up towards Tahoe and Reno. I recently spent several hours with him and I am happy to report that he is doing well, given his situation. At first, I was taken aback to see Tim as he is wearing glasses (contact lenses are not allowed in prison), which made him look older than his real age of 30 (his birthday was the day before I arrived).
DeChristopher is also bigger than he was on the outside, with arms like an NFL offensive lineman. But, he is in a very safe and stable prison and can walk around the perimeter of the camp to take in the mountain landscape that surrounds him. He said he eats well, reads plenty, and finds the biggest challenge is actually being stuck on the inside when there is so much action on the outside.
HERLONG FEDERAL PRISON
DeChristopher was heartened by the Occupy movement and was particularly gratified to see that 12,000 people (including Mountainfilm stalwarts Terry Tempest Williams and Louis Psihoyos, pictured below) attended a rally outside the White House to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, an action that was largely organized by Bill McKibben (Mountainfilm guest 2009 and 2011) and has certainly changed the dynamic in Washington.
DeChristopher knows that he is on the sidelines for now, but still has a powerful voice and clear goals of a livable future.