What You Can Do To Support Michael Foster’s Act of Civil Disobedience

Dear UUC community,


Many of you know Michael Foster, one of the five people who turned off valves carrying tar sands oil—the dirtiest oil on Earth—from Alberta, Canada, into the United States. Michael spoke from the pulpit on November 26; he and some of the other Valve Turners also spoke at an event at UUC organized by our church’s Climate Action Team to raise money for the VTs’ legal expenses. There is more information in this NY Times article.

On February 6 in North Dakota, Michael was sentenced to a year in prison with an additional two years deferred. Many people have asked what they can do.  Shut It Down/Climate Direct Action—the organizations that have been working with the Valve Turners—sent an email to its supporters recently. To summarize, Michael said, “If there’s something you can do, do it now.” Be creative and dig deeply…the idea is to use his sacrifice as inspiration for a real commitment to deep change. It’s not just prison–for years, Michael has awakened every day committed to working for climate stability. We can’t all dedicate so much time, but given the stakes and given the price he’s paying, maybe we can all do more. If your time is truly limited, here are some suggestions to get you going:


  1. Call your legislators (toll-free legislative hotline in Olympia 1-800-562-6000) to demand bold climate action. UUC’s Climate Action Team can identify bills needing your support. Michael would like to add that for SB 6203 (the carbon tax), the bill should integrate science-based targets in line with Dr. James Hansen’s climate math; this is extremely important as the bill has been weakened. The latest bill information can be found here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/


  1. Write letters to the editor or an op ed piece. Talk about how we must hit the right targets based on the best available science to protect our children, other people, other species. Testify at hearings or, at least, show up to offer support. UUC’s Climate Action Team has information.


  1. Plant trees or donate to organizations that are planting trees. Here’s a video from Michael. Michael spoke from our pulpit when Climate Change for Families, which offers Plant for the Planet academies, was awarded a Seeds of Justice dedicated plate collection by UUC.


  1. Please contribute to Shut It Down/Climate Direct Action. A relatively small number of individual contributors have made it possible to pay legal fees and court expenses, travel costs, and video documentation, but these expenses continue to mount. Two more Valve Turners are facing trial in Minnesota.


  1. Reduce your carbon emissions at least 10% per year. Michael would especially love it if he inspired you not to fly when you otherwise would have!


Please make a pledge for Michael Foster.This page is updated on how to support Michael.