Going Behind ‘Bidder 70’

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This weekend’s guest on Moyers & Company is Tim DeChristopher, an environmental activist who, in 2008, went to an auction during which drilling rights for the natural gas and oil beneath stretches of pristine Utah wilderness were being sold off. DeChristopher decided he couldn’t stand by and watch the process, so he signed on as a bidder. He purchased plot after plot, knowing he had no way of paying for them, in order to keep the land out of the hands of the oil and gas companies. His act of protest landed him in jail.

A documentary film chronicling his lengthy legal battle, imprisonment and his personal development as an activist, called Bidder 70, opened May 17 in New York. The film, The New York Times says, “nails the way that a spontaneous act of courage can focus the mind and clarify an ideology.” Reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis writes “Observing [DeChristopher] as he ponders nonviolent protest, quotes Edward Abby and visits mountaintop-removal coal mines in West Virginia, where he was born, we hear not the legal machinery humming inexorably in the background but the mental gears of an activist clicking into place.”

Watch the trailer.

In this clip from his interview with Bill, Tim DeChristopher explains why Americans concerned about the environment need to think beyond their role as consumers and consider themselves players in a democratic society.

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