April Film Looks at the Morality of Environmental Activism

What drives a person, someone who has worked within the system all his life, to abandon the rules and break the law in pursuit of an ideal? The Reluctant Radical follows the path of one such man – environmental activist Ken Ward – through some eighteen months of direct action against the fossil fuel industry, culminating in his arrest and trial.

The film will be screened on Saturday, April 13, at 1:30 p.m., at Niles Discovery Church, 36600 Niles Boulevard, Fremont. A discussion will follow the screening, led by Toby Blomé. Blomé organizes periodic nonviolent resistance against drone warfare at Beale and Creech Air Force bases. She is a member of CodePink. Admission is free.

Directed by Lindsey Grazel, the film shows a fairly conventional man who grew increasingly disillusioned as emerging climate science painted an ever-grimmer environmental future while environmental organizations largely continued doing business as usual. Ward emerges as someone not temperamentally inclined to go tilting at oil wells, but whose moral convictions eventually lead him to devote his life – at whatever cost – to fighting the role of the oil business in climate change. His realism about his chances of ultimate success makes his commitment to his cause all the more poignant.

The Reverend Jeffery Spencer, head pastor at Niles Discovery Church, says, “Climate change is the moral issue of our times.” The Reluctant Radical puts a very human face on that moral challenge. The film will be of interest to anyone pondering the ethics of activism.

The Second Saturday Documentary Series is co-sponsored by Niles Discovery Church and the San Jose Peace and Justice Center. Learn more about the series at http://bit.ly/nilesssds.

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