NVI Director, Michael Beer, pled guilty to Unlawful Entry for his climate protest action in September of 2023. He faces a 4 month stay away sentence from the White House area. Here is his sentencing statement that he shared with the court.
Dear Judge, prosecutor and those who supported my climate protest.
I have pled guilty to unlawful entry for protesting the weak response from President Biden and his administration to the crisis of climate chaos. It was not my intention to get arrested. And spending about 28 hours in lock-up was not fun.
I chose not to pursue a jury trial. Although I believe my arrest was unwarranted and designed to stop a legitimate protest that was not causing any security or safety concerns to the public, I decided that my chances of persuading a Jury of my innocence was possible but not likely. I also came to the conclusion that given the strain that the current judicial system has in processing many more serious crimes, that it was almost self-indulgent for me to afford myself this opportunity. I am a fervent supporter of the jury system and I am grateful that in this country, these trials are available to people like me, even on misdemeanor charges.
My purpose in protesting, with other citizens, was to call on President Biden to declare a climate emergency. Although a declaration has risks, we need to face the crisis of carbon pollution with urgent action including building a massive electric grid here and around the world, stopping fossil fuel exports, and producing renewable energy for the globe. We are by far the world’s biggest historical polluter, and we have much to do in the form of global reparations. We of course need strong congressional action and I look forward to encouraging support for a Green New Deal..
Many of us live an extravagant lifestyle made possible by fossil fuels, and our next generations are likely to experience the damaging results. This very building is near the flood plain and could face serious flooding. But beyond the infrastructure, it is the tremendous famines, floods, heat waves, and severe weather that will cause havoc particularly among the less privileged and fortunate.
I try to limit my carbon footprint, by bicycling most places, eating a mostly vegetarian diet, and refraining from flying often. Yet I know I can do better to limit the damage that my life is having on this earth.
My life’s work as Director of Nonviolence International is to support nonviolent social mobilization and action around the world to engage mass engagement to the existential threats of our lifetimes such as nuclear war and climate chaos,. While keeping our eyes on the existential threats we need to support social justice and support human rights around the world. We need to build greater support for the rule of law as a foundation of civilization and deeper reverence for it is needed particularly for international law and governance which is vital for human survival.
Future generations will ask, what did you do to stop this profligate burning of fossil fuels? I ask all of you here to regularly ask yourselves this question?
I thank you for listening to my words and I thank you for your service to our communities. I ask that you not impose further punishment, penalties or consequences other than the stay away order to which we have agreed.
NVI Director, Michael Beer, spent the night of September 7th in the notorious DC Central Cellblock. He was arrested at the White House as part of an effort to use nonviolent direct action to urge US President Biden to declare a climate emergency. He was arrested with Kai Newkirk and Justin Blake.
Michael Beer, speaking to the crowd in front of the white house inviting them to speak up and demand a climate emergency declaration.
Protests Continue for a Climate Emergency Declaration
September 12th, inspired by our action, new activists from around the country again put a climate emergency sign on the fence and were arrested.
September 13th, another set of activists protested at the White House Fence!
September 14th, yet another wave of activists protested at the White House.
September 19th, more citizens put the sign up on the fence and were arrested again.
September 20th, four more citizens arrested including Dr. Paul Dietz, Rev. Redeem Robinson both of whom were kept overnight at the appalling DC Central Cell Block.
Here is a LINK to video of their protest!
September 22nd, more protests led by Native Americans at White House Fence
September 28th, Kai Newkirk interrupted President Joe Biden's speech in Arizona.
Various outlets covered Kai's disruption:
Democracy Now: Activist Disrupts Biden Speech, Urges Him to Declare Climate Emergency
MarketWatch: Biden interrupted by climate activist during speech, promises to meet
The Hill: Biden heckled by climate activist in Arizona during speech honoring McCain
The Independent: Biden faces down climate activist hecklers during Arizona speech
October 1st, Mehdi Hasan covered Kai's disruption and put it into conversation with the narrative in climate scientist, Michael Mann's recent book.
The climate crisis is obvious and not some far off future we must fear, but instead a current reality we must face. This effort at the White House is led by our fiscally sponsored partner For All. Together we are urging the US President to take action to end all new fossil fuel infrastructure. We also call on every country to declare a climate emergency.
You can play a key role in this work wherever you are in the world. Connect with local groups especially those led by frontline communities and young leaders who will inherit the mess we have created.
For those in the US, please join our actions and civil disobedience protests at the White House over the coming weeks. You can learn more about that here.
There is a huge end fossil fuels march in New York City at the UN on September 17, 2023. Large civil disobedience street protests will happen on September 18. Please come to New York and participate in these historic actions. There are over 400 protests around the world this week. Please join one.
To learn more about Nonviolent Tactics, please see Michael Beer’s book and NVI’s database.
NVI has been active on this issue. For those wanting to learn more or be inspired by creative youth-led action, please see:
Solidarity with Sunrise
Spotlight on NV - Jamie Margolin
Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis