The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
10 People Found Not Guilty in Flood Wall Street Protest, Judge Takes Judicial Notice of Climate Change
You probably remember the polar bear getting arrested in the "Flood Wall Street" protest in September the day after the historic People's Climate March. Several thousand people took to the street in the Financial District to identify and protest against Wall Street's central role in fueling climate destruction. At the end of the day, 102 people were arrested for sitting in the street at the intersection of Broadway and Wall. Ten of the arrestees subsequently decided to fight their charges in court.
And yesterday, these 10 were found "not guilty" by New York City Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum. According to Flood Wall Street, Judge Mandelbaum ruled that the New York Police Department's (NYPD) order to disperse violated the First Amendment. In his ruling, the judge also found "that by ordering protesters to leave the entire Wall Street area, police violated protesters'
Defense Attorney Jonathan Wallace successfully argued that the Constitution protects Americans' rights to "express political speech within proximity to the target of the protest. In this case, the NYPD first prevented protesters from entering Wall Street before later ordering them to leave the area altogether." This method of policing proved to be unlawful.
That is a victory in and of itself for the 10 individuals, as well as, the general American public and its right to protest. But the judge went even further "by taking judicial notice that climate change is happening, is a serious problem, requires immediate action and is caused by human activity," said Flood Wall Street.
“The importance of judicial notice is that the judge accepted climate change and the need to do something about it as a fact without the necessity of any evidentiary support or proof at trial,” said Defense Attorney Martin Stolar. “To the best of my knowledge, this is unprecedented and has significance for future litigation involving climate change.”
The ruling sets an important legal precedent in recognizing the constitutional legitimacy of mass civil disobedience actions protesting climate change, according to Flood Wall Street. The 10 defendants gave passionate testimony to the court, "affirming that their actions were justified."
“I got arrested to protect my five-year-old son’s future,” said Susan Heitker, one of the defendants. “The judge’s ‘judicial notice’ shows that the climate justice movement is creating a broader shift in our society’s desire to address climate change and this gives me hope."
Jeneen Roybal, a disabled U.S. Army veteran who was one of the defendants said: “This is an important precedent, not only for climate change demonstrators, but everyone who engages in protest activity.“
It's an important precedent, especially because of whom the protest was directed towards. “Wall Street companies fund and profit off disaster for all us, and finance capitalism won’t be able to deal with the social fallout of climate change. We urgently need to act to save our planet and futures,” said Jason Woltjen, one of the defendants.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."