Community Service Already Served

Jon Queally

The following was released by Greenpeace/USA:

— [On Monday], eleven Greenpeace activists appeared in court to enter a plea
and be sentenced for the protest at Mount Rushmore last July. The
activists pleaded guilty to the charge of Climbing Mount Rushmore, and
received a fine of $460 each. They will perform 50-100 hours of
community service in the National Park system depending on their
individual sentence, and the judge requested that some or all of that
service be performed at Mount Rushmore. A single activist, Matt
Leonard, who has a history of peaceful civil disobedience, was
sentenced to 2 days of jail time, which he will begin serving at 3
o’clock in the afternoon today.


The remaining three charges against
the activists were dismissed, as were all charges against Greenpeace. 
In a civil decree, Greenpeace has agreed to pay a sum of $30,866,
$25,000 of which will go to conservation and public park programs.

When the peaceful protest occurred last July, protestors unfurled an
enormous banner in the space to the right of the carvings, just next to
Lincoln’s head. The banner depicted Obama’s face, and read “America
Honors Leaders, Not Politicians: Stop Global Warming,” and was intended
to challenge President Obama to take a strong stance on climate change
in the leadup to December’s international negotiations on climate
change.  There was no damage to the monument, and activists took
precautions to ensure that. The care they took was recognized by the
judge and contributed to their sentencing. The judge also noted their
motivations, and the tradition of peaceful protest in our country.

The eleven individuals who were arrested have been awaiting the
resolution for the past six months, and will now anxiously await the
release of Matt Leonard.

On behalf of all the activists, Jessica Miller delivered a statement on
the steps of the courthouse: “We climbed Mount Rushmore because we
wanted to send a message to President Obama that this is an issue that
is important to us, and to the future generations who will face the
increasing impacts of global warming, like drought, severe weather and
the loss of millions of lives around the world.  We value living in a
country where we can show our patriotism through the great American
tradition of civil disobedience.  It is, however, disappointing that
Matt Leonard will serve jail time for something he should be proud of.
Global warming is the most important crisis our generation must tackle,
and it is time for all of us to stand up to stop global warming.”

We know things are bad. We know it's worth the fight.

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