The Valve Turners: January 14, 2018 Green Chautauqua

Dear friends and companions on the journey:

In October 2016, five climate change activists cut chains and closed emergency shutoff valves on five tar sands oil pipelines in four states. This briefly stopped the flow of all Canadian tar sands oil into the United States. They did it, they said, because continued failure to reduce carbon emissions threatens our children’s lives, our children’s children’s lives, and life on earth, generally. They became known as the Valve Turners. They were arrested, and they are currently in the midst of the legal proceedings that follow that arrest.

The Valve Turners are ordinary folks with extraordinary courage and commitment: Emily Johnston, a Seattle poet; Ken Ward, who’s worked on the staff of environmental nonprofits; Annette Klapstein, a retired attorney; Leonard Higgins, a retired Oregon State employee; and Michael Foster, a mental health counselor. They face felony convictions and long prison sentences for their civil disobedience.

Tomorrow, January 14, 2018, at 11:30 we have an exceptional opportunity to listen to the stories of two of the Valve Turners: Michael Foster and Emily Johnston. While we usually hold our Green Chautauqua speaker events in the evening, the speakers’ schedule is such that midday works better for them. And while you would usually have read about this in our newsletter, the Kensington Press, this opportunity arose after the December-January Kensington Press went to print.

Maybe you agree with the kind of activism the Valve Turners represent; maybe you question whether it is effective. We know that the planet God has given us is in jeopardy, while powerful institutions still deny the climate emergency. Perhaps the Valve Turners’ story will inspire your own prayerful response, whatever that may be.

11:30 a.m., Sunday, January 14 in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo, 72 Kensington Road, San Anselmo, CA.

Grace and peace,

Joanne Whitt


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