Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher, a founder of the grassroots organization Peaceful Uprising, is widely known for disrupting a 2008 auction of gas and drilling rights to more than 150,000 acres of public lands in Utah. Despite the fact that the Obama administration eventually declared the auction null and void, he was charged with two felony counts for his actions and sentenced to two years in prison. After serving 21 months, he was released in April 2013. Shortly after that, Bidder 70, a film documenting the story of his protest premiered.
In the years since his arrest, Peaceful Uprising has become an important part of the fight for environmental justice, using DeChristopher’s model of civil disobedience as its centerpiece for organizing efforts in Utah and around the country. Members of the group have staged sit-ins at the Department of Interior, protested the Keystone XL pipeline, and marched against the Tar Sands in Utah, reigniting what some say is a spirit of empowerment in the environmental movement.
In 2011, he was named as a person of the year by TreeHugger.com and that same year was a finalist for the Salt Lake Tribune’s “Utahan of the Year” award.
DeChristopher received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in 2009 and will attend Harvard divinity school in the fall of 2013.