BREAKING: A generous donor has agreed to match ALL donations up to $100,000 from now until the end of the month to continue what many observes call the most important corporate accountability case ever. Help us continue to hold Chevron accountable for their planet and people-destroying crimes and protect Steven by contributing today and have DOUBLE the impact.
On the eve of my 900th day in detention for a petty misdemeanor – something that never before has happened in U.S. history – I write to tell you about our extraordinary plans for the coming year. In a nutshell, with a series of targeted and strategic actions, we believe we can dramatically increase the pressure on Chevron to pay the full amount of the $10 billion pollution judgment to the Indigenous peoples and farmer communities of Ecuador. To put it simply: it’s time to turn the tables and go on offense so Chevron pays for its environmental crimes and illegal attacks on me and other advocates.
I have spent much of the last several weeks since leaving prison in a period of reflection while reconnecting with family and friends and consulting with strategists. I am thinking deeply about what I want to do this year and in the future. What is overwhelmingly clear is that the work of Earth Defenders is critical to ensure the survival of Amazon Indigenous peoples, to ensure the failure of Chevron’s nefarious plans to keep me jailed, and to send a powerful message to the entire fossil fuel industry that it never again will be allowed to attack activists and lawyers to distract from its own planet-destroying pollution. I am re-dedicating myself to continue to battle along with Amazon communities to ensure justice is served in the Chevron case.
I will get to the specifics shortly but first let me thank you personally for the incredible support for me and my family as I lived in Danbury prison. As most know, I am the only lawyer in U.S. history sentenced to prison for a misdemeanor contempt charge. Judge Preska denied me a jury and sentenced me to six months after a grossly unfair trial, but I was furloughed by the prison authorities after 45 days to serve the remainder of my sentence at home – a testament to the outpouring of support from all quarters of the country and world. Those who demanded my release included 68 Nobel laureates, 11 Congresspersons, 37 bar associations from countries like Spain, France, and Italy, artists such as Roger Waters and Susan Sarandon, political leaders like Marianne Williamson, prominent organizations such as Amnesty International and Amazon Watch, and literally thousands of citizens-activists from around the world. As I said in my final statement prior to entering prison: “We will emerge from the experience so much stronger than when we started.” That’s exactly what has happened.
We now plan to build on that strength so my release transforms into a paradigm shift for Chevron, the fossil fuel industry, and for the ability of the human rights movement to hold major polluters accountable. These are three main areas of focus for 2022:
First, we must protect my ability to work as a human rights advocate and lawyer. Make no mistake, I am still in grave danger. I must serve the rest of my sentence (until April 25) at home with an ankle bracelet – an extraordinary intrusion into my liberty from a case already declared a violation of international law by the United Nations. My legal team needs to stay on high alert to beat back future threats targeting my liberty from Chevron and Judges Kaplan and Preska. We also need to ensure that my passport is returned, my right to travel is guaranteed, and my law license is reinstated.
Second, we must force Chevron to pay the historic $9.5 billion pollution judgment owed to Amazon peoples in Ecuador. Our strategy includes a number of important legal and advocacy actions to significantly jack up the pressure on Chevron to comply with a court decision affirmed by 28 appellate judges in Ecuador and Canada. This includes taking the fight directly to Chevron’s Board of Directors – the very people who have authorized the massive expenditures to attack me and the Ecuadorian peoples. We plan to make those who live behind the Chevron curtain and who are responsible for this atrocity into household names. Ultimately, we will shift focus away from Chevron’s attacks on me and put it on what really matters: Chevron’s poisoning of Indigenous ancestral lands and the mass wave of cancer deaths due to the company’s dumping of toxic waste in the rainforest.
Third, we will build on our experience in the Ecuador case to address fundamental issues about justice and climate on a global scale. This includes a stepped-up media campaign with more appearances by more people on more podcasts, Twitter, and Instagram Live events both in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. The support we have received so far from independent media is amazing: coverage from almost every major podcaster (including Krystal Ball, Michael Moore, Ralph Nader, Katie Halper, Briahna Joy Gray, and Marianne Williamson) and positive reports from even parts of the mainstream media (including MSNBC and CNN). We are being invited to give speeches at major global climate conferences and universities, and we have seen extensive penetration of online platforms like those of Amnesty International and Greenpeace which collectively have millions of followers.
Now, the hard part: we need significant resources to make this happen – at least $1 million over the next 12 months. The good news is that for our first stage we have a major donor who will match everything donated up to $100,000 by the end of January. So if we raise $100,000 by the end of January, we get $200,000. Funds raised will be held in the defense fund by the Friedman Rubin firm in Seattle and used to execute on our strategy.
Please contribute $2500, $1000, $500, $250, $100, $50, $25, or whatever you can and have DOUBLE the impact today. →
As someone who has worked on the case against Chevron for close to 30 years, I simply refuse to stop until the affected communities obtain justice for what is by far the worst oil contamination in history. Paul Paz of Amazon Watch has called this battle the most important corporate accountability case ever. I totally agree. Chevron’s attempts to silence me have failed. I’m now ready to move forward on a platform even bigger with the likelihood of achieving even greater results.
Please help us power forward so we can build on our accomplishments and hold Chevron and the fossil fuel industry fully accountable. It’s an honor to be in this together.