Civil Disobedience: Why did we occupy Fin. Minister's Office?

I’ve blogged twice recently about an act of civil disobedience I took part in last week, & do hope I’ve convinced some usually "polite" people to consider acting &/or speaking up themselves.

For information about doing direct action, you can go to Direct Action in Canada for Climate Justice

I've just realized I ought to have said more about why we did what we did!?

Seven of us sat chained together in Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty’s office for the day & were willing to be arrested because:

  • We know climate change is the single most urgent threat facing our world.
  • We wanted to send a very strong message to the Harper government about the need to take ACTION on climate change – not stall & prevent global action/solutions at the Copenhagen meetings.
  • We know the Harper government’s finance minister Jim Flaherty controls the federal government’s purse strings.
  • We wanted to call on Flaherty & his government to finance the solutions to climate change – & climate justice – not continue subsidizing the tar sands (home of the world’s dirtiest oil).

The results of our actions? Impossible to pin down – but I do think this action (& others like it) have the potential to demonstrate to very different constituencies of people that:

(a) the issue of climate change is indeed mind-bogglingly urgent, & recognizably so, to vast numbers of Canadians/youth/world citizens &

(b) those of us protesting are not unruly, unreasonable or violence-prone; we are sensible, concerned, passionate people committed to action on climate change, & also to spreading the word about the need for climate justice. (Visit for information about why we in the well-off, developed countries have a moral obligation to fund solutions in the poorer countries, the ones bearing the brunt of climate change impacts.)

Groups you can check out for their work on climate change & their take on & participation in the Copenhagen experience:

The KYOTOplus coalition – “A Canadian public engagement campaign to support an urgent solution to the global warming crisis” – consists of over 120 environmental & social justice groups – & many thousands of individual citizens – who have signed the KYOTOplus petition.

Check it out at

Here is what Canadian writer/blogger/filmmaker & activist extraordinaire, Guy Dauncey, has said:

“The message, so firmly, is – don’t give up. Don’t hang with the cynics, the angry-hearted, the whiners, the blamers, the negative minded. Hang with those who believe in love, hope, and beauty – and then work with them to make this a reality. This is our planet. This is our time. This is our call to action.” ~ Guy Dauncey, author of The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming

For suggestions of things you can do about climate change, please consider reading the blog post ‘Copenhagen Primer’. Skip lots of the “chat” if you prefer, & scroll down to near the end, where practical suggestions are offered.


P.S.  This blog is my own. I am not representing or speaking here on behalf of any other groups to which I belong - just me, myself & I. Any screw-ups are mine alone!?

P.P.S. Other blog posts about the sit-in are found at Busted for Climate Justice!; Civil Disobedience Rocks!! 10 Observations & Dear Judge: Comfort Zones & Climate Change.

P.P.P.S. Here is a fine quotation about disobedience: “You want sanity, democracy, community, an intact Earth? We can’t get there, obeying Constitutional theory and law crafted by slave masters, imperialists, corporate masters, and Nature destroyers. We can’t get there, kneeling before robed lawyers stockpiling class plunder precedent up their venerable sleeves. So isn’t disobedience the challenge of our age? Principled, inventive, escalating disobedience to liberate our souls, to transfigure our work as humans on this Earth.” Richard Grossman