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Bill McKibben's Posts


Tar-sands protests go global

Protesters in Wellington, New Zealand.Photo: Tar Sands Action Protests against a proposed tar-sands pipeline, which have already mushroomed into the largest civil disobedience actions in America in many years, broke out across the globe today, with solidarity demonstrations at U.S. and Canadian embassies and consulates on six continents. In Durban, South Africa, visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to cross a picket line thrown up by climate justice campaigners. "We were wearing Barack Obama T-shirts," said organizer Patrick Bond. He said the pickets would continue weekly.  In Wellington, New Zealand, 35 campaigners carrying signs that said "We Are All …


Out of jail, and more in awe of MLK than ever

Bill McKibben is arrested in D.C.Photo: tarsandsactionThis essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. I didn't think it was possible, but my admiration for Martin Luther King Jr. grew even stronger these past days. As I headed to jail as part of the first wave of what is turning into the biggest civil disobedience action in the environmental movement for many years, I had the vague idea that I would write something. Not an epic like King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," but at least, you know, a blog post. Or a tweet. …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil


Will North America be the new Middle East?

Photo: This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom's kind permission. The climate problem has moved from the abstract to the very real in the last 18 months. Instead of charts and graphs about what will happen someday, we've got real-time video: first Russia burning, then Texas and Arizona on fire. First Pakistan suffered a deluge, then Queensland, Australia, went underwater, and this spring and summer, it's the Midwest that's flooding at historic levels. The year 2010 saw the lowest volume of Arctic ice since scientists started to measure, more rainfall on land than …


Join us in civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline

Let's get down to business and stop the Keystone XL pipeline. This open letter is signed by Maude Barlow, Wendell Berry, Tom Goldtooth, Danny Glover, James Hansen, Wes Jackson, Naomi Klein, George Poitras, David Suzuki, and Gus Speth. Dear friends, Here's the short version: We want you to consider doing something hard -- coming to Washington in the hottest and stickiest weeks of the summer and engaging in civil disobedience that will likely get you arrested. And here's the full version: As you know, the planet is steadily warming: 2010 was the warmest year on record, and we've seen the …


When will we see solar panels on the White House?

Photo: Nellis Air Force BaseNothing tests a relationship like home renovation. (Well, maybe the twittering of crotch shots, but I mean for ordinary folks.) Fixing the kitchen, putting in a new bathroom: "It can bring up core issues in communication and highlight power struggles and inherent weaknesses in the marriage," Rick Heil, a marriage therapist, told the Chicago Tribune. One counselor in Palo Alto has an entire practice devoted to "providing individuals and couples the tools and skills they need to make home renovations a positive and rewarding experience for everyone involved." Her expertise might be needed this week, because …


Carbon President: Why does Obama keep OK’ing big fossil-fuel projects?

The future's looking hot.Photo: The White HouseThis essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom's kind permission. In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water ports, railroad grades -- those seem so 19th century. The Earth is flat, or so I remember somebody saying. But those nostalgic for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those decisions are intimately tied to this continent's geography. Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that showed each state …

Comments and 1Sky merge into one mass climate movement

Let's get together -- yeah, yeah, yeah.We environmentalists hear this periodically from friends and family and other concerned citizens: "I wish there weren't so many groups. It's confusing. I don't know who to volunteer for. Wouldn't it work better if you all got together?" This isn't quite as obvious as it sounds. Different groups have sprung up at different times to fill different niches. You wouldn't look out at a marsh and say, "It would be much nicer if there were just one kind of frog to keep track of." Diversity has some very real purposes. But there are moments …


The Pepsi to their Koch

Why doesn’t Congress give a damn about climate? Hint: it’s not the messaging

The Greenpeace airship spreads the word.Photo: Gus Ruelas/GreenpeaceAmong other truths made completely clear by the showdown in Wisconsin: the outsized role of the Koch brothers in American politics. Charles and David, the third and fourth richest men in America, first gained notoriety this past fall, when a remarkable exposé by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker showed how they'd funded not only the Tea Party but also the hydra-headed campaign to undermine the science of global warming, all in the service of even more profit for their oil and gas business. But it was in Wisconsin that the down-and-dirty details …


Tim and vigor

We need big, brash, nonviolent climate protests. Are you in?

It's time to get loud.Dear friends, Last week, a jury in Utah found Tim DeChristopher guilty for standing up to the oil and gas companies in an effort to protect our health and our climate. If the federal government thinks that it's intimidating people into silence with this kind of prosecution, think again. This is precisely the sort of event that reminds us why we need creative, nonviolent protests and mass mobilizations. Over the last six months, we've witnessed big changes in the world that call out for creative, nonviolent protest, including: The wild and extreme weather and flooding that …


Tim for a change

As climate crime continues, who are we sending to jail? Tim DeChristopher?

They've got the wrong guy.Photo by Cliff LyonLet's consider for a moment the targets the federal government chooses to make an example of. So far, no bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we know it at risk.  But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas barons? As Tim DeChristopher found out on Thursday, that'll get you not just a week in court, but potentially …