Not many people are extremely passionate for something they love. It is even more unlikely that many people would submit themselves to jail and give up their own freedom for the things they are passionate about. However, there are people who would do just that. One such person is Tim DeChristopher.
Tim DeChristopher is a 29 year old undergraduate economics student from the University of Utah. He is an environmental activist. On December 19, 2008, DeChristopher infiltrated a federal government oil and gas lease auction which was the final auction under the Bush administration. By pretending to be bidder number 70, he bought up to 13 leases totaling to 22,500 acres of land around the Arches and Canyonlands national parks. When security had finally pulled him out of the auction, DeChristopher ended up with $1.7 million in leases he had no way of paying for.
Of course, DeChristopher was arrested on the spot. He was charged with a federal crime of disrupting a government held auction. On March 3, 2011, DeChristopher was found guilty at a Salt Lake City federal courthouse on 2 felony counts by a jury consisting of 8 men and 4 women for disrupting a government auction. During his trial He was sentenced to 10 years in jail and $750,000 in fines.
Later when people asked him why he did it, he responded that his actions were a form of protest against the federal government. The protest was sparked when the government violated environmental laws by holding the auction. In these laws, they stated that lands that were being auctioned off were first and foremost reserved for the sole purpose of building parks. DeChristopher knew that by doing nothing, these lands would be mercilessly used for corporate companies own selfish needs. Thus resulting in the devastation of these lands and possibly the surrounding lands.
When the government obviously did not care and were not going to do anything about it, DeChristopher took action to ensure that these laws were upheld. If no one else was going to do it, who would? When asked DeChristopher does not regret doing what he did at the auction. Instead he is quite proud of himself for having done so. Without him, Arches and Canyonlands national parks would not be present today.
He recently was a guest speaker at Powershift 2011 which is an environment activist conference in Washington, D.C. At the conference 10,000 young individuals heard him say that even though they are saying what they are going to do, are they really going to follow through with what they say? This statement was meaningful in which it encouraged the individuals to reflect on themselves and actually take measures to make a difference in the world instead of saying what they are going to do. Instead of it all being just talk, it should be all action.
Tim DeChristopher is a hero in which he took action to protect the thing he loves which is the environment from the people who are harming it. He was not just all talk. He actually had the guts to do something. DeChristopher was not concerned with the fact that his actions would no doubtably result in his arrest and jail time. He did what millions of people only dream about.
Below is the speech that Tim DeChristopher made during Powershift