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Letters: Tim DeChristopher's River Trip

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Robert Siegel and Guy Raz read emails from listeners about Alex Chadwick's story on Monday's program. Chadwick, a former NPR colleague, took a trip down the rapids of the Green and Colorado rivers with climate activist Tim DeChristopher. Chadwick was still grieving his late wife while DeChristopher was facing a prison sentence for disrupting an auction of government oil and gas leases. Listeners were moved by Chadwick's story, though some took issue with DeChristopher's attitude about his crime.


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Guy Raz. Our inbox was full of love for a story we aired yesterday. Alex Chadwick, a former colleague of ours, told us about his summer trip down the rapids of the Green and Colorado Rivers.

TIM DECHRISTOPHER: How do you think we should ride?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Hey, diddle diddle. I mean...

DECHRISTOPHER: What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Right down the middle.

ALEX CHADWICK, BYLINE: Watching them watch the river, I see the patterns. Even in the places that look crazy, some ways are better than others. Stay calm. See what's there. It's still dangerous, but it's more interesting than scary.

SIEGEL: In his story, Alex Chadwick said he felt lost without his wife, who died last year. He made this trip with climate activist, Tim DeChristopher, just before DeChristopher was sentenced to prison for illegally disrupting an auction of government oil and gas leases. And we received many comments about both of those personal details.

RAZ: Many of you praised Alex's story, calling it stunning, powerful and fabulous and in her email, Laura Howett(ph) of Brattleboro, Vermont addressed his self-doubts directly. She writes, you said that you were not sure you could make radio without your beloved wife. Let me tell you something. You still make great radio. You made me cry in a good way and made me think and introduced me to so many interesting characters and that includes you, for sure.

SIEGEL: But Jeffrey Hartley(ph) of Alpine, Utah was disturbed to hear what he calls, and I quote, "a one-sided profile of climate change savior, Tim DeChristopher." And he writes this: I get the romance of the river and the healing power it might have. What I object to is the biased romanticized way in which Tim DeChristopher's illegal actions were stylistically coupled with a narrative designed to provoke the emotions of sympathy and awe.

RAZ: Whatever your thoughts about anything you hear on this program, we want to hear them. Go to and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.

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