Tim DeChristopher: First the anger, then the love. Overcoming generational anger to find the courage for the difficult work ahead

Climate activist Tim DeChristopher. (photo: Paul Dunn/YES!)

Climate activist Tim DeChristopher. (photo: Paul Dunn/YES!)

My Idaho activist friend Bill Chisholm has pointed me in the direction of Sarah Gelder’s YES! interview with Tim DeChristopher, which I read earlier, and then got waylaid by something else, or I would have posted it then.

So difficult, this constant whipsawing between one item of apparently total, critical importance and another, and another, both in my homestead, and in the exploration I carry out on this blog, trying to identify what is really going on underneath the hype and to understand all of it from higher (and lower) perspectives. Which is, of course, impossible. So then I get pulled into my own past, and into healing with my son, and wondering whether written work I did 25 years ago should see the light of day now. . .

And then, I keep coming back to permaculture, permanent culture, what it takes to get there, where we are, or are not, in the process, and how on the one hand things seem utterly hopeless, we are definitely doomed, and on the other hand, a powerful surge of Earth-centered awareness and practice is burgeoning up everywhere. Both/and. Both at once. The worst and the best.

And then, in the midst of all these kaleidoscoping attention-grabbers, I reflect on how everybody is always overloaded, not just me; it’s a wonder that we still do manage to find time to listen to each other, respect one another, care for one another . . .

Breathe, Ann!

So, back to Bill. I agree: “His [Tim’s] perspectives via this interview are insightful and somewhat disturbing.”

I can only say that I found myself nodding my head yes with every word Tim said at the time I read the interview. As a pre-boomer (born during World War II, not afterward), I can also attest to the lack of activist oomph in older generations, and to the anger that lies just under the surface of younger ones.

On the other hand, aren’t those (young or old) who pour their energies into demonstrating a new way of life in communion with Earth and Earthlings (including humans) just as “active” as those who take to the streets?


That’s something that has always bothered me in the discourse around climate change; those who are choosing their own profits over people’s lives say, “Well, it’s just business.” They make it cold and calculating.

It’s only “just business” for the people making profits. For a young person looking at climate change, it is personal. It is an older generation trading our lives for their own short-term interests, whether that’s fossil fuel executives trading our lives for profit or whether that’s baby boomer liberals trading our lives for their own comfort and convenience because they don’t want to take the risk of fighting back.

van Gelder: That’s provocative! Do you want to expand on that?

Tim DeChristopher: The Boomers “Failed” Us


This entry was posted in 2014, conscious grieving, local action, multidimensions, permaculture principles, visions of the future, waking up, zone zero zero. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tim DeChristopher: First the anger, then the love. Overcoming generational anger to find the courage for the difficult work ahead

  1. Bill Chisholm says:

    Comfort and Convenience were the great selling points for the Consumer Society. No one wanted to do real work anymore.. they wanted to sit on their arses and make money flipping real estate and playing the stock market. Psuedo-hippies turned in to yuppies… The American lifestyle became more and more obscene, more and more disconnected from the ripping and raping that it takes to sustain. The two Boomer Presidents didn’t do much to alter the course and W. even expressed the notion that the American lifestyle (the source of most environmental and international problems.. think war) was “not negotiable.”

    Tim DeChristopher and his generation have a right to be pissed. I’m pissed at the lack of vision and courage of the broader public and the pathetic lack of vision and courage that comes forth from our so called leaders. We could have done so much better and though the hour is very late and the choices much harder.. I still think we can do better.

  2. Bill Chisholm says:

    To fully grasp the Tim DeChristopher story one should not only read this interview, but watch the movie Bidder 70 including the extras wherein he talks about an experience in the judge’s chambers where the individual jury members are asked if they can set aside their own conscience and follow the judge’s orders.
    Yesterday was one of those days… in which I pondered Tim’s accusation that “the Boomers ‘failed us’/” As a Boomer, who spent most of my adult life trying to move the country in a new direction, I have to concur with Tim and it hurts. Later in the day as I thought both about the scandal withing the VA in the treatment of veterans.. I was also following the Bowe Berghland story. and in a conversation with a friend and Vietnam vet talked not only about hie experience with the VA, which is good, but also about Bowe.. My friend turned me onto this Rolling Stone story about Bowe. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607. I sadly had to conclude another Boomer failure, not only have we failed future generations in terms of t he environment, we failed to keep them out of senseless wars. Both make for a very poor legacy. That said… I know many a Boomer that did their best to make a difference and hopefully as Matthew Fox suggests that rather than “retire”, they “refire”… give last full measure to creating a better world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *