Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher Convicted on Two Felony Counts

I'm hanging out at the Garrison Institute this week, bracing myself against a stream of provocative ideas about the intersection between climate change, the human brain, and individual behavior. But this news, needless to say, broke the flow: Famed environmental activist Tim DeChristopher has been convicted on two felony counts, and now faces up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $750,000.Here's the AP:

An environmentalist has been convicted of making $1.8 million in false oil and gas drilling bids at a federal auction in a case that became a cause celebre among activists and Hollywood stars. Authorities say 29-year-old Tim DeChristopher made the bids to run up the price of 13 oil-and-gas leases near Utah's Arches and Canyonlands national parks but lacked the ability to pay.

A federal jury reached its verdict Thursday, finding DeChristopher guilty of two felony counts of interfering with and making false representations at a government auction ... A University of Utah economics student at the time, he offered to cover the bill with an Internet fundraising campaign, but the government refused to accept any of the money.

This is truly unfortunate -- recall that it was later ruled that the auction that DeChristopher disrupted was improperly conducted, and possibly illegal. DeChristopher engaged in a sort of nonviolent peaceful civil disobedience that's all too rare in the modern era of tepid online blog activism.

The only solace we should take with this is that DeChristopher going to prison will only raise his profile -- and drive his message, that the need for climate action is worth self-sacrifice, further into the mainstream. As Bill McKibben noted in a tweet after hearing the news, ""The government should give him a medal, not a sentence."

Join the growing movement to help DeChristopher on Twitter with the tag #bidder70.

Tags: Activism