In a recent court case in Boston, more than a dozen protesters were found “not responsible” after a judge found their actions to stop climate change a “legal necessity.”

The protesters were fighting against the installation of a gas pipeline in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, by jumping into the holes dug for construction and refusing to leave. They were arrested, but prosecutors reduced their charges to that of civil infraction before any trial; this meant that instead of a jury, the protesters plead their case directly to the judge. All 13 protesters accused were found “not responsible.”

Karenna Gore, Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York and daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, was one of the 198 arrested in the protest. She called the judge’s decision “historic.”

“The people….were found not responsible by reason of necessity. The irony is that we are making ourselves responsible. We’re part of the movement that is standing up and saying we won’t let this go by on our watch. We

The defendants, who were all found not guilty by the West Roxbury municipal judge.

won’t act like nothing’s wrong.”

Although only a decision on a municipal level, this case could prove a bold precedent in the fight against climate change. If more courts find that we have a legal right to stop undue harm to our environment, then we’ll have better ground to stand on against corporate greed and for sustainable practices.

Does this mean you’ll be legally protected if you decide to protest against a pipeline in your area? Don’t count on it, but it’s a powerful new step towards defending the environmentalist movement. In the face of undeniable climate change, we all have to stand up and speak out about the dangers our planet faces from irresponsible corporate entities. With each corporate eco-disaster, the oil and gas industry is desperately playing every card they have, including making protests cost an arm and a leg. But there will be a day when their dirty tricks are gone, and all that’s left is a populace that has had enough.