Gore calls for civil disobedience to stop coal. But will he lead like Gandhi and King?

Reuters reports:

“If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration,” Gore told the Clinton Global Initiative gathering to loud applause.

I’m a big fan of the Veep, but there is something young people can do that is vastly more important right now — and that is to get politically involved immediately. If you are too young to vote, you can still knock on doors.

Yes, the CGI is nominally nonpolitical. Fine, don’t mention which candidate is most committed to solving the problem. Everybody already knows — well, almost everybody (see “Clinton Global Initiative jumps the shark, invites McCain to keynote on Energy Solutions“). Okay, so Gore will have to spell out exactly who in another speech. Fine.

gandhi4.jpgI am all for civil disobedience. But this isn’t the civil rights movement or the struggle for India’s independence, where you are appealing to a general populace that will be impressed by the nonviolence of a mass of marchers and shocked by the response of a brutal establishment. Thus, the scale and nature of the problem makes civil disobedience at best a weak solution to the climate crisis — with one possible exception.

mlk.jpgCivil rights had Dr. King and India had Gandhi to create a mass movement. If Gore really believes that civil disobedience is an important strategy — then he needs to lead the effort and go chain himself to some fences and sit in front of some bulldozers with thousands of others. If he won’t, then this is all just talk. Gandhi and King certainly never sat around with a bunch of world leaders in a big, fancy hotel and urged others to do that which they were not prepared to do any time or any place, over and over again, until the cause was won.

Gore made some other interesting statements, including a reference to Martin Luthor King. It’s Getting Hot in Here live blogged Gore’s CGI session with Bill Clinton:

11:24 Clinton asks Gore to tell everyone what investors/politicians should do in regard to energy/climate, and how to overcome political and financial difficulties.

11:25 Gore acknowledges all in the room and offers what appears to be very sincere thanks to Clinton for hosting the Clinton Global Initiative.

11:26 Gore: “Current economic crisis was triggered by the sudden collapse of an assumption. The assumption was that if you lumped housing loans together (even bad ones), you could eliminate the risk. That assumption went splat this week.”

NOW is the time to prevent a much worse catastrophe based on an even bigger assumption.

“Since we met here last year (at CGI) we are losing badly in the fight against global warming”

11:28 References all the natural disasters – from hurricanes to fires in the US and Carribbean this year.

For every 1 degree in temperature increase there will be a 10x increase in lightning strikes.

Warming means less or no more frost in certain areas, which means more bugs/pests running rampant that we can’t control; throwing off our ecosystem. (haven’t heard him use this point before.

“This is all the result of an insane approach to climate”

“We as a species have to make a decision.”

“The economic crisis can truly provide an opportunity to make the right decisions.”

“We should stop burning coal!”

Compares clean coal to what happened on Wall Street. Clean coal is an illusion. Do not invest in it.

“Coal industries spending millions to sell an illusion (like Wall St.) of clean coal.”


“The only demo was discontinued. How many plants are there? Zero. How many blueprints: ZERO.”

“We should make a one-off investment into a new global energy infrastructure that is based on energy which is free forever. The sun. Wind…”

“Wind is competitive today. Geothermal is competitive today.”

We need a new super grid to take energy from where wind blows and the sun shines to where people live.

Darfur has more reliable sunshine than just about anywhere else. We can invest in these places and bring that energy to where population centers are.

Create jobs in building this grid, wind turbines,solar panels.

As MLK Jr said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

“Well, increased CO2 anywhere is a threat to civilization everywhere.”

“TODAY the US Congress is voting on a bill without ANY debate an energy policy that lifts moratorium on coal shale. This is utter insanity.”

Re: Clinton Global “Every year we have a discussion here, and there is progress made. But it’s not enough. It’s not enough.”

11:37 Clinton: One very specific question. “Just completed an interesting tour of our country’.” Lots of places that the wind is blowing (ref small TX town where wind at 56 mph), but there’s no grid to take the energy anywhere.

Question: What’s the quickest way to maximize solar and wind energy (and geothermal) production for the US.

Gore: Currently there is $120bn lost annually because of failures of current grid. Needs to be replaced anyway.

Crazy enough, “can also use that SAME GRID to develop a next generation broadband network.” Everyone wins.

New super grid “should be #1 infrastructure project of this decade – whoever is elected president.”

Clinton: 2 year wait to build new wind in New York for one investor (can’t hear name).

We need to change policy and incentives now to get these things going.

Gore: Stock traders that inform investors that global warming doesn’t prevent a threat are guilty of a form of stock fraud.

This is a crisis that is happening NOW. Scientists around the world are practically screaming from the rooftops to stop it.

“If you’re a young person, I believe we’ve reached a point of civil disobedience” …to do things like take down coal plants

Great stuff, though again I’m not sure why only young people should be participating in civil disobedience.

The time for everyone to act is now.

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29 Responses to Gore calls for civil disobedience to stop coal. But will he lead like Gandhi and King?

  1. Daniel Haran says:

    Young people? F**k that makes me angry.

    We’re not cannon fodder or some general’s peons. People that want to tell us what to do should shut up and lead by example.

    Practically speaking, a senior citizen has 100 times more moral authority chained to fence or tree than a gaggle of lanky teenagers. Police repression – wether it be physical or chemical beatings – looks worse on a senior (and therefore more likely to be reported on). Judges are less likely to brush them off.

    If Gore announces he’ll be at a protest risking arrest, you can bet there will be a LOT of people there with him.

  2. paulm says:

    You hit the nail on the head.

    Climate alarmist just are not serious enough about it. No one is really putting anything on the line considering how serious the situation is (this is especially so for climate scientist, apart from Hansen).

    We need leadership, we need to feel the pain.

    Go chain yourself to the CNN front doors Joe.

  3. jcwinnie says:

    Excellent question, I can see it now Joe and Bill and Al locking arms and leading the yoof in a protest. Must work on the Jingoes.

  4. rjm says:

    get a bunch of purple and red haired weirdos, give them some Obama signs and get them to chain themselves to the equipment – great visual – it would get a ton of votes for McCain.

    I was surprised to hear there are 28 coal power plants being built in the US and 20 more on the drawing board. We’re gonna need a lot of hippies.

  5. Ronald says:

    good article.

    I’m amazed at the disconnect between what most of the science organizations are telling us is true and how little of that is actually being promoted by those organizations.

    I read Thomas Friedman’s book, ‘Hot, Flat, and Crowded’ and he had a line in it, ‘Scientists hate to be advocates, but advocates have no problem being Scientists.’ How true that is.

    I think I should see the largest newspaper in my state having all kinds of commentary on Global Warming from all the Scientists in this state. If Global Warming caused by Human Machines and Land use is true, then where is the outrage from those who know better or should know better?
    It’s mostly quiet.

  6. Bob Wallace says:

    Our generation got their heads cracked over Civil Rights and the Vietnam War (which included getting rid of the draft for you).

    Now you slackers want to sit back with your Game Boys and let us solve problems that are going to hurt you more than us?

    Why am I not surprised?

  7. Ronald says:

    We should have a system to measure the Global Warming/Greenhouse gases released progress guide.

    It’s hard to know where we are in solving the Global Warming problem, even if there was progress being made. How about saying that today we’ll be at zero progress and that in the year 2050 and that if net greenhouse gas release was down to 20 percent of what it is today and land use was what it should be, that the measure would be 100 percent.
    Then in the year 2025, if Humans had reduced greenhouse gases released by 20 percent, we would be at the Global Warming Index of 20.

    I imagine for the next few years, the Global Warming progress measure would be negative. But at least there would be some number that could be referenced.

  8. hapa says:

    can’t manufacture a dignity crisis. if people don’t feel their movement restricted, they’ll just keep going the same direction because using momentum to your advantage is smart physics. then you throw some of your force off to one side or the other to clear the path ahead, when you have a good enough head of steam.

    there’s too much inertia in this system. here we are in the crash though. i thought this would be a chance to look at the map again but i think we’re about to reach for an outdated disaster procedures manual, instead. in the event of an emergency, your culture can be used as a flotation device.…

    except now we’re BILLIONS of people.…

  9. rpauli says:

    The Young are powerless (for now) and misinformed.

    The Old keep up the misinformation because they don’t want to be blamed for inaction.

    Not a pleasant conflict brewing. If the Old in power are too united in obstructing a healthy future for the young — then I would expect my children to fight for their future. And I would counsel every young person to join the fight.

    “What will it take?” Refer to recent post

  10. Daniel Haran says:

    Bob – If you are responding to me, that wasn’t suggesting slacking. Cf “If Gore announces he’ll be at a protest risking arrest, you can bet there will be a LOT of people there with him.”

    I’ve done my fair share of CD, and I’m currently doing some more that could land me in heaps of trouble in my country (Canada). We’re never done having to keep powers that be accountable, and we lose all credibility when we ask younger people to protest on our behalf.

  11. Dano says:

    When there’s no power to spare to charge the Wii and Gameboys, then the slackers will whine and complain for us to do something. Hopefully their games will have taught them and their soft parents how to cope.

    In the meantime, This reinforces my view that only some will change voluntarily. Others must be impelled to move – whether by shame, pricing, policy. Which is why we need diverse solutions.



  12. Megan Michaels says:

    What surprises me is your reaction and that of your readers. You want folks to be involved. You have written over and over again about the crisis so how about you put your money and time and energy where your words are?

    We need more than one Al Gore. He has created a powerful organization WE and Current and he is doing something. None of us, including you, are doing enough. The folks with the education and the money to travel have it far better than the ones living paycheck to paycheck in small rental properties.

    I see young, old, and every age in between needing to get involved.

    What have you or your readers done today to fight global warming? Have you called legislators? Written utility companies? Created a protest in your community regarding wall street bailouts and no money for green?

    Let’s all jump in there. Think what 10,000 Martins or Ghandi’s could do.

    I am willing, ready, and risking my employment to practice civil disobedience if it means stopping coal and nuclear. WE do not need either. What are you willing to risk?

  13. paulm says:

    May be Bush and Wall st were secretly trying to address Climate Change by bringing on a depression.

  14. llewelly says:

    Martin and his supporters – Ghandi and his supporters – these people were driven by centuries of suffering.
    Most Americans have still not knowingly suffered significantly due to global warming.
    This is the time lag problem.

  15. We definitely need nuclear energy. The only question is which kind.

    I’ve just finished reading William Tucker’s new book “Terrestrial Energy” and recommend it to all the readers on this blog. It will be well-worth your time.

  16. hapa says:

    @megan: don’t put much energy into stopping nuclear. current nuclear is stopping itself. for all the talk, the actual intent — at largest scale, the proposal by the republican candidate — is to build barely enough plants to replace those about to retire. many many practical reasons for this. coal is faster to build and cheaper and so, much more dangerous, and deserves total attention. nuclear is as much a replacement for coal as is CCS: too slow.

  17. rjm says:

    Coal is King. Energy use is on the increase and coal is the easy answer.

    and this talk of disruption is a laugh. It’s from a bunch of guys on keyboards wearing nice shoes and sitting in soft leather chairs. One in a thousand might actually do something.

    The mobilized demonstrators will be the usual anarchist extremists.

  18. David B. Benson says:

    I’d rather see more sensible actions, such as getting out the ‘global warming’ vote and electing representatives, at every level, who will do something about it.

    Such as anti-coal, pro-torrefied wood and biochar legislation.

  19. Robert says:

    You are making a lot of assumptions about young people.

    My 21 year old daughter tells me that I am wrong to have taken my car off the road and that a 53 old man ‘ought to have a car’. She gets very cross with me when I turn of her PC and TV, hang out washing on the line, refuse to turn on the central heating (the second log burning stove is going in next week) and so on.

    Most people, young and old, simply don’t care. Even if they do care most don’t think that personal initiatives make any difference (they don’t by the way – global CO2 continues to rise whether or not the neigbours get to see my underwear on the washing line).

  20. Climate Blogger 749 says:

    My comment is awaiting moderation at DOT EARTH where it will prob be censored and deleted, but Joe, take a look at what the Times does not people to read:

    “I can see where this is heading. Civil disobedience, yes. Next step: like those Vietnamese Buddhist monks who burned themselves alive in Vietnam during the war there in the 60s to protest the war, some very very very alarmed activist or religous person might just turn to pouring gasoline on himself herself in front of the UN to protest climate change inaction. It will be a sad day when that happens, but get ready. Civil disobedience is just the first step, next is self-immolation protest. Maybe in Geneva, maybe in NYC, maybe in Tokyo, but watch! I hope it does not have to come to that, but some passionate person, maybe young, maybe old, will do it. It’s not the Vietname War, it’s the CLIMATE WAR!”

    — Climate Blogger 749

  21. Dano says:

    llewelly has a good point. What if civil disobedience is not putting up with Murrican cr*p, not buying Murrican cr8P?



  22. Climate Blogger 749 says:

    Civil disobedience, yes.

    Next step: like those Vietnamese Buddhist monks who burned themselves alive in Vietnam during the war there in the 60s to protest the war, some very very very alarmed activist or religous person might just turn to pouring gasoline on himself herself in front of the UN to protest climate change inaction.

    It will be a sad day when that happens, but get ready. His or her act will huge headlines too. I hope he doesn’t die.

    Civil disobedience is just the first step, next is self-immolation protest.

    Maybe in Geneva, maybe in NYC, maybe in Tokyo, but watch!

    It’s not the 1959-1975 Vietnamese War, it’s the 2008-3008 CLIMATE WAR!”

  23. AGWisnotScience says:


    Maybe you are making too many assumptions. It’s quite possible those you think “don’t care” instead simply don’t believe the ridiculous notion that an atmospheric gas measuring in at less than a tenth of one percent is going to have dramatic effects on Earth’s climate if it increases by a few parts per MILLION. Many are not as gullible and/or stupid as that.

    Gore’s call to action is another classic example of his ultimate hypocrisy. The man lives in a 20,000 square foot house that consumes enough electricity to power a small town, much of which comes from the very coal-fired power plants he deems unfit for operation due to their evil CO2 emissions. Please don’t bother telling me about his recent modifications (subsidized, like all economically challenged “alternative” energy options currently available, at taxpayer expense, of course) to add solar, etc. to his mansion, or his purchase of “carbon credits” (from his own company, set up to take full advantage of the scam). If he gave a flying f**k about CO2 emissions, he would put his money where his big, very fat mouth is and relocate to a small, modest home like us regular folk who don’t live on the backs of the productive before he spouts on about what others should do to solve the non-existent “crisis.”

    The people of China and India aren’t stupid enough to believe this tripe, and any reductions of CO2 emissions that the charlatans that unfortunately have conned their way into elected office in the West can manage will be more than “offset” (pardon the pun) by the growing China and India economies. They’ll be more than happy to prosper at our expense. Ask yourself the questions that should truly be your yardstick of whether this is as serious an issue as you say: Are you willing to go to war with China and India to stop the growth of atmospheric CO2? Are you willing to send your children to die in this war for the “climate crisis” cause? Are your children ready and willing to die for this cause? If you can’t answer an enthusiastic “yes” to all of those questions, then stop trying to force your pseudo-religious belief system about “anthropogenic” global warming, for which no actual evidence (as opposed to ASSUMPTION that warming “must be” due to CO2 that “must be” increasing due to human activities) exists down the throats of the rest of the world!

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence, clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken

    “The urge to save humanity is normally a false front for the urge to rule.” – H.L. Mencken

    “The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.” – Czech President Vaclav Klaus

  24. Peter Foley says:

    I find it hard to believe Gore is not on the TSA’s no-fly list for advocating sedition during a time of war.

  25. Bob Wallace says:

    AGW –

    People in the future are going to look back at the crap that people like you shoveled and curse your very existence.

    People in the future are going to unnecessarily suffer because people like you impeded the process of slowing global warming.

  26. RedStorm76 says:


    CO2 released into the atmosphere has a blanketing effect on the planet, which in turn affects the climate. This is a known and widely accepted phenomenon called the greenhouse effect. It is very real, as without it our planet would not be hospitable to life. Any additional CO2 we produce (and we produce a staggering amount of it) will enhance that effect. It’s pretty easy to understand when your head’s out of the sand.

    The theory of anthropogenic global warming has science behind it, has current data following predicted trends, it has heuristic data supporting it, has the majority of reputable scientific organisations WORLDWIDE backing it. Why? Because there is more evidence for it than there is against it. Deniers, like yourself, have nothing but ridiculous ad hominem “straw man” attacks on Gore, socialist political conspiracy theories and cherry picked arguments.

    It seems it is you and you who clings to dogmatic, pseudo-religious-fundamentalist attitudes based on nothing in the face of science and irrefutable observational evidence. Furthermore, your rant boils down to nothing more than ignorant zealotry.

  27. What are we thinking and doing? What is to become of our children?

    Our children’s future is being mortgaged and put at risk by leaders in my not-so-great generation of elders. Is there no end to arrogance and adamant avarice of the greedy kings of wealth concentration, their bought-and-paid-for politicians, their many minions in the mass media?

    Somehow we and our children have got to find more effective ways of communicating about threats to human wellbeing that are being perpetrated before our eyes by self-proclaimed “Masters of the Universe” among us.

    Good and able people are not saying loudly, clearly and often enough what they know to be true………not speaking truth to power.

    Many too many politicians are posing for the public and pandering to those with great wealth; too many investment brokers are devising economic bubbles and pyramid schemes, skimming millions for themselves…….”breaking” the financial system and threatening the real economy; and the mass media has been turning a blind eye to the entire mess.

    Such woefully inadequate leadership needs to be named, shamed and replaced.

    Perhaps more people will stand up, remain standing, and speak out loudly, clearly and often about what they see and know to be happening.

    Our children could soon be confronted with an economic and/or ecological wreckage of an unimaginable kind; but, because so many people are not reasonably, sensibly and responsibly communicating with one another now, the chances for taking the measure of certain ominously looming economic and ecological challenges and finding adequate solutions to them appear to be diminishing day by day.

    Perhaps there are at least three questions worthy of consideration by young people and their elders today.

    Is it possible that the wondrous planetary home we inhabit was given unto the stewardship of humankind simply for the purpose of allowing the greediest people on the planet to fulfill their unending wishes and insatiable desires, come what may for a good enough future for their own children, coming generations, billions of less fortunate people in the family of humanity, global biodiversity, Earth’s body and environment? Are the greedy kings of wealth concentration and power politics, who consume, possess and hoard a lion’s share of the world’s wealth, the only people who matter? Are the selfish among us, the ones who are about to be “bailed out” this week despite their unbridled avarice and obscene behavior, supposed to be source of our primary concern?

    At least to me, it is crystal clear how so few have stolen so much from so many.

    Not ever in the course of human history have so few people been so greedy by having taken surreptitiously and then hoarded so much wealth that rightfully belonged to so many less fortunate people.

    Clearly and evidently, the colossal global economy is an ever-expanding, artificially designed, manmade construction. For whom does the world’s human economy exist? To fulfill the wishes and insatiable desires of those with ill-gotten gains? Only to provide security for the greediest among us?

    And, of all things, for many too many leaders of my not-so-great generation of elders to extoll the virtues of their unbridled avariciousness and applaud each other by passing out ‘awards’ to each other for the triumph of their greed, all of this is plainly outrageous.

    In light of what has occurred in the both the financial system and the real economy in recent years, can someone please explain what the terms “fairness” and “equity” mean? Can anyone find examples of these phenomena in the distribution of wealth by the organizers and managers of the world’s human economy today?

    Who knows, perhaps change toward common sense, fair play and sustainable behavior is in the offing.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

  28. Banjo says:

    Being a “young person” who has been involved in civil disobedience to try and stop the climate crisis, I am

    A. of course frustrated by our wanna-be leaders who like to tell us what we need to be doing but won’t put themselves in harms way.

    B. am equally frustrated by the arrogance of those who assume that if we’re chaining ourselves to things that we must be politically unengaged.

    And I would also like to say that now is absolutely the time for civil disobedience. No matter how may individuals realize that they need to start conserving, without serious action by industry and government to shift (quickly) the way we produce and consume, individual action is meaningless. The number of new coal plants somewhere in the permiting or construction process is actually around 100 ( If most of them go online then we’ve ruined our chances of avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Stopping these plants, and using the resources going to build them (sticking us with another 50 years of dirty energy) to catalyze a transition to clean energy production is the only way I can see us getting out of this mess.

    So cheers to everyone else out there who is part of this movement that is using all the tools in the tool box (including civil disobedience) to hold industry and government accountable for dragging their feet at this critical moment.

    …and don’t worry, I’m sure that as we continue to build this mass movement sooner or later the “leaders” will cut to the front of the line.


  29. David Lewis says:

    Campaigners throw around references to Gandhi but I wonder how many have read his books. I was surprised when I read some of what he had to say. The book I went to was The Essential Gandhi” as it contains selected exerpts of his thought as it evolved over time. It was a good study.

    Obviously, the fight to stop climate change isn’t the war of Independence in India and it isn’t the civil rights movement. Its more vital more urgent and its worldwide. There’s never been a fight like this. In this unprecedented situation all tactics need to be considered.

    Those who believe in any tactic ought to be told, in the same way Gandhi told everyone in India: if your conscience is clear and you think this is the best way then you should fight for the independence of India because the issue is that important. That’s how he wrote.

    Gandhi argued in favour of nonviolence because he felt it was superior to violent resistance but he said do it, do what you believe in, let all people join this fight, and we’ll judge people according to if they live up to the standard they say they’ve set for themselves. Read him and see.

    People don’t know what he argued for its all so long ago and if they just rely on hearsay and don’t go to the words of the man himself they’re just perpetuating the situation.

    Gandhi felt his nonviolent tactic was going to be unstoppable. He saw that the British understood violence very well and they knew just what to do, divide and rule and gun down anyone who mobilized, keeping their advantage by keeping the people divided and scared. This didn’t work against Americans, whose Revolution had succeeded long before, but this was India. It was an ancient society all divided up into kingdoms run by potentates, split by religion and caste, sliced up like mortgage backed securities.

    Gandhi thought, if you mobilized an army of people who would not shoot and would not fight back the British would try to gun them down but this was why he thought the tactic would succeed. The British wouldn’t be able to sustain the operations, and then what would they do? Gandhi would then press the nonviolent attacks home. Always, he said this is vital we need to sacrifice now, and somehow he came out looking in history like he was in the front line waiting to be killed. “Non-violence leaves an indelible impression” I believe are his words, as it transforms those who oppose it. Gandhi was killed by someone who walked up and assassinated him, and he wasn’t in the thick of a big demo at the time. By

    The British couldn’t kill him it would have been a catastrophe for their side. Gandhi was hard to deal with but he wasn’t perfect. His private life was flawed. His operation took a lot of money, as one of his backers said, to keep the Mahatma poor, or I might say, looking so poor. He was a human being. I’m not saying there is any evidence he flaunted wealth, but he was the leader of a movement and he didn’t have to worry where his next meal was coming from.

    One great thing Gandhi said nonviolence has as a tactic is the authorities have trouble throwing you in jail. You are trying to express a lot that is admirable in everyone, self sacrifice, caring about something greater than yourself, and working toward a goal of interest to everyone. If you are a plotter of violent revolution, ordinary people may share your overall goal but not many are going to be in favour of your tactic and you are immediately subjected to the extreme interest of police who are preauthorized by centuries of tradition backed by courts who will put you into jail. Nonviolence is difficult for courts to deal with because of this.

    The British found it very difficult to deal with it. They’d pass a law, taxing the salt that was traditionally gathered on beaches by evaporation for free, enter Gandhi, he’d frame the issue, we don’t need the British here this is our country, I have a tactic with a long term chance of success, nonviolent revolution, lets go, we’ll march to the sea and evaporate our salt and not pay them any tax and we’ll do it even if they gun us down, in fact, brace yourselves we’re going to do it until they gun us down. He was probably lucky to survive in the early days, but later…. We won’t have to pay tax to a foreign power to keep us down if we have our own country, and we don’t break just any law, we break this law, as we don’t recognize the right of the British to even make law here. He’s got it all packaged up like this. Enough people went for it that it was eventually seen to be a big part of why India achieved its freedom.

    The British commander faced the fact that he’d be killing unarmed people just looking for a way to get salt for their food. Anyone could see if Gandhi could just inspire enough people to believe in this tactic, the British were not going to be able to hold India, and the long long war entered a new phase with the British focussed increasingly on how to limit the success of this powerful idea. Senior British officials didn’t even think Gandhi was that intelligent when they’d talk things over with him in the back rooms. But he had something, and the world remembers.

    I think Gore mentioned civil disobedience at this time to draw attention to Greenpeace and the Kingsnorth Six. If you’ve ever been involved risking your freedom like this you will find it surprising that the court in the UK didn’t convict. Courts don’t have trouble throwing high minded people into jail who say they are protecting something like say old growth forest in BC which I’ve observed people go to jail over.

    In the few demos I conceived of risking my freedom I saw some of what Gore is pointing to that Hansen and Greenpeace are seeing over this coal plant demo.

    For instance, I took on McDonald’s over their broken promise to remove ozone depleting substances from their hamburger containers because the radiation shield around the entire planet was in jeopardy – I was distributing pamphets outside a McDonald’s restaurant pointing out to customers they weren’t living up to their promise. The police dragged me away, put me in their “paddy wagon” mobile jail truck, drove a few blocks away and released me saying they agreed with me. It was basically just me and I didn’t succeed in inspiring people to join in and press this campaign home but I did see that the courts are reluctant to interfere when it is the citizen protecting his planet offering his freedom not showing violence.