Film/Discussion: “The Reluctant Radical” Sept. 21

Port Angeles Public Library, 2210 S Peabody St.

Saturday, Sept. 21 — 7-9 pm — FREE

Ken Ward: “Our only hope is to step outside polite conversation and put ourselves in the way.”

If a crime is committed in order to prevent a greater crime, is it forgivable? Is it, in fact, necessary? Olympic Climate Action will present a thought-provoking film and discussion.

Ken Ward faced those questions head-on and was one of five activists, the “Valve Turners,” who shut down all the major Tar Sands pipelines in the U.S. one day in 2016. In honor of Global Climate Strike Week, Olympic Climate Action will screen The Reluctant Radical, about Ken and his Valve Turner colleagues, on Saturday, September 21, from 7-9 pm at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St. The film follows Ken as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change.

The film reveals both the personal costs and the fulfillment that comes from following one’s moral calling—even if that means breaking the law. Ken breaks the law as a last resort and with great trepidation, to fulfill what he sees as his personal obligation to future generations. After twenty years leading environmental organizations, Ken becomes increasingly alarmed by both the scientific evidence of climate change and the repercussions for civilization as we know it. Ken pushes for a crisis level response and when his efforts fail, he embraces direct action civil disobedience as the most effective political tool to deal with catastrophic circumstances. The film follows Ken through a series of direct actions, culminating with the coordinated action of the Valve Turners that shut down all the U.S. tar sands oil pipelines on October 11, 2016 and that threatened to put Ken behind bars for 20 years. Ken has no regrets, and his certainty leaves the audience to consider if he is out of touch with reality, or if it is the rest of society that is delusional for not acting when faced with the unsettling evidence that we are collectively destroying our world.

Renowned ex-NASA chief climate scientist Dr. James Hansen says of Ken, “He was told he was crazy, but crazy is sitting idly by as disaster for young people is knowingly locked in.”

The screening will feature a special appearance by Ken’s fellow Valve-Turner, Michael Foster, who received the longest prison sentence of the group when he turned off the main Tar Sands pipeline in North Dakota. For more information, see The discussion with Michael will make the event very special and personal, so plan to stay for the discussion afterward!

Peninsula Daily News story

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