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Time for civil disobedience is upon us

RE “PROSECUTOR drops charges, says protesters were right” (Page A1, Sept. 9): I never thought I’d get arrested for something I believed in. But three years ago, I sat down in front of the White House to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Over the course of two weeks, police put me and 1,200 others in handcuffs, making the demonstration the largest civil disobedience action in a generation. Together, we were one small part of a movement that has helped keep Keystone XL on the drawing board and 800,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil in the ground.

Both of my parents are lawyers. I grew up with a strong respect for the law and a belief that working within the system, however imperfect, can deliver real change. Climate change has proved to be an exception. The fossil fuel industry has rigged our democracy so far in its favor that disasters such as Keystone XL can be legally approved, no matter the environmental crime they perpetrate on our country, our children, and our climate.


Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter should be commended for his principled decision to drop charges against Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara for their coal protest against the Brayton Point power plant in Somerset. He knows the law, but he also knows the science.

The climate crisis necessitates an immediate response. If our politicians can’t provide it, then we must. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, there is such a thing as being too late.

Jamie Henn
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The writer is co-founder and communications director at, an international climate campaign.