Paul Anderson

Editor’s note: During’s cross-country Do the Math tour, Grist board member Bill McKibben will be filing occasional reports from the road for us.

Your average 51-year-old book author with a receding hairline doesn’t get that many opportunities to feel cool. Still, there are moments.

Right at the moment we’re speeding south on I-5 out of Seattle, nearing the Oregon border. There are eight of us from aboard this bus, which is good since it sleeps eight — and we’re going to spend the next three weeks crisscrossing this country. I’ve got the late great Dobie Gray (“Up on the Floor”) cranked on Spotify. There are four — count ‘em, four — live wifi hotspots fired up — more internet than you can shake an iPhone 5 at. Which is good, because you need the web to find the biodiesel stations.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

We’re on a high from Wednesday night’s debut of the Do The Math roadshow in Seattle before a crowd of 2,000. It was a day beyond our wildest expectations. Not just the fired-up crowd (who shouted down the heckler who tried to cut things off before they began), but also the announcement from the mayor of Seattle that he was instructing the city treasurer to start investigating how to divest city money from the fossil fuel industry. And then the news that Unity College in Maine had chosen this day to become the first college in the country to sell off its fossil fuel stock. We’re rolling in more ways than one.

The problem with fighting climate change is that it never feels like we’re getting anywhere. Right now, though, we’re getting to the outskirts of Portland. And maybe the outskirts of doing some damage to the Exxon mystique, the Chevron reputation, the Shell brand.

I’ve got my Bidder70 baseball cap on, my earphones pulled down tight, and now my northern soul playlist has turned over to the too-soon-forgotten Prince Philip Mitchell and his not-quite-a-hit “I’m So Happy.” Don’t know if we’re going to win, but we’re rolling.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.