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Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books, including The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, he writes regularly for Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Review of Books, among other publications. In April 2007, he organized the Step It Up National Day of Climate Action, one of the largest global warming protests to date. Most recently, he has co-founder of 350.org, an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. He is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, and lives in Vermont with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter.
(7 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 19, 2019 Why Should You Climate Strike This Friday, September 20?
A year ago, inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, young people around the world began climate striking. In May, when 1.4 million kids around the world walked out of school, they asked for adults to join them next time. That next time is September 20 (in a few countries September 27), and it is shaping up to be the biggest day of climate action in the planet's history.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 18, 2019 If the world ran on sun, it wouldn't fight over oil
No one will ever fight a war over access to sunshine -- what would a country do, set up enormous walls to shade everyone else's panels? Fossil fuels are concentrated in a few places, giving those who live atop them enormous power; renewable energy can be found everywhere, the birthright of all humans. A world that runs on sun and wind is a world that can relax.
SHARE Sunday, September 15, 2019 Let's Make Friday the Biggest Day of Climate Action in Global History
Donald Trump has bellowed his climate denialism so loudly that it's begun to disconcert everyone who is not in his cult. Surveys show that he's more out of touch with Americans on the environment than on any other issue. If and when Trump goes, climate denialism as a powerful political force may well go with him.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, September 6, 2019 This Climate Strike Is Part of the Disruption We Need
We live on a planet that finds itself rather suddenly in the midst of an enormous physical crisis. Because we burn so much coal and gas and oil, the atmosphere of our world is changing rapidly, and that atmospheric change is producing record heat. July was the hottest month we've ever recorded.
SHARE Saturday, August 17, 2019 Don't Burn Trees To Fight Climate Change -- Let Them Grow
The main way in which the world employs trees to fight climate change is by cutting them down and burning them. Across much of Europe, countries and utilities are meeting their carbon-reduction targets by importing wood pellets from the southeastern United States and burning them in place of coal: giant ships keep up a steady flow of wood across the Atlantic.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, July 10, 2019 The Climate Movement: What's Next?
At a moment when the climate emergency has become obvious and pressing, we might begin to pivot. If we do, we could progress very far very fast, especially if the climate movement forges alliances with other movements. The extremely rapid fall in the price of renewable energy and electric storage is one indication that the necessary conditions for rapid change are now in place.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 14, 2019 We've run out of elections to waste -- this is the last chance to make a difference on climate change
A decade is an eternity in climate time now. We've wasted three decades since scientists first raised the warning that's guaranteed that we'll have massive increases in temperature. It means we've run out of decades to waste, and hence of elections to waste. Every election matters; it registers who we are at a certain moment in history, and it sets the course of the next few years. But this election will matter forever.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 11, 2019 Joe Biden is stuck in the past when it comes to climate change
In the early days of the Obama years, when we knew far less about the chemistry of methane, it was a perhaps-defensible plan; in 2019 it's embarrassing, the equivalent of idling your muscle car outside the Earth Day picnic. There is no "middle ground" on climate change -- there's only meeting the demands of physics and chemistry (and justice), or watching the temperature soar.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, May 5, 2019 Notes from a Remarkable Political Moment for Climate Change
Political reality is always important, but in this case there's something more crucial -- call it just plain reality. It dictates that every step we take from here on -- pay heed to the underlying science, above all to the shrinking time we have left to make any real difference. After 30 years of standing still, baby steps won't do us a bit of good, and a misstep may cost us our last chance.
(13 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 24, 2019 To stop global catastrophe, we must believe in humans again
The reason we don't have a solution to climate change has less to do with the greed of the great, unengineered unwashed than with the greed of the almost unbelievably small percentage of people at the top of the energy heap. Let's operate on the assumption that human beings are not grossly defective. That we're capable of acting together to do remarkable things.
(6 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 10, 2019 Glaciers and Arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it's too late
The biggest physical features on the planet are now changing in ways they haven't since long before the dawn of human history. On the most distant poles, and on the highest peaks, we see almost unfathomable shifts. The only question is whether a similar shift is possible in our politics. Planet Earth is miles outside its comfort zone; how many of us will go beyond ours?
(6 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 17, 2019 How to Tell If Beto O'Rourke Is for Real: A Green New Deal and Natural Gas
Texas has the second-largest economy in the country; oil and gas are still the state's largest industries. For employees of those companies, who, in 2018, contributed more money to O'Rourke's campaign than to that of any other member of Congress except Cruz (it's Texas, after all), natural-gas production is a way to extend their livelihoods for a few more decades.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, March 15, 2019 A Future Without Fossil Fuels?
Imagine a world in which the greatest driver of climate change -- the unrelenting political power of the fossil-fuel industry -- had begun to shrink. The question, of course, is whether we can reach that new world in time.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 17, 2019 Bill McKibben: Climate Change Is Scary -- Not the Green New Deal
It's very clear that conservatives have one plan for dealing with the popularity of the Green New Deal: scaring the hell out of people. And it's very clear that they have one big problem: The hell they're building through inaction is a lot scarier than "upgrading all existing buildings."
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, December 17, 2018 At last, divestment is hitting the fossil fuel industry where it hurts
Divestment by itself is not going to win the climate fight. But by weakening -- reputationally and financially -- those players that are determined to stick to business as usual, it's one crucial part of a broader strategy. The Carbon Tracker initiative in London published the first report laying out the fact that the fossil fuel industry has five times more carbon in its reserves than any climate scientist thinks is safe.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 8, 2018 How The Iconic 1968 Earthrise Photo Changed Our Relationship To The Planet
Fifty years is barely a blip in the vastness of astronomical time, but Earth now looks quite different when seen from space. In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer sea ice that once covered the Arctic is now half gone. Some of the islands of the Pacific have begun to disappear below rising seas. The great forests that covered South America and Africa are shrunken and ragged.
(5 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 24, 2018 A Very Grim Forecast
We're running out of options, and we're running out of decades. Over and over we've gotten scientific wake-up calls, and over and over we've hit the snooze button. If we keep doing that, climate change will no longer be a problem, because calling something a problem implies there's still a solution.