Bill McKibben is an American author, journalist, environmental activist and a prominent leader of the climate movement. He has written extensively on the impact of global warming and has organized far-reaching actions raising public awareness and engagement on the urgent need to rethink our energy systems.
Growing up in Lexington, Massachusetts, Bill wrote for the local paper and participated in statewide debate competitions during high school. He was editor of The Harvard Crimson at Harvard University and joined the New Yorker as a staff writer after college. In 1980 he determined to devote his life to the environmental cause.
McKibben has written a dozen books and is a contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Grist and Granta. Some of his work has been remarquably popular. His 2012 Rolling Stone article, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, prompted 125,000 likes on Facebook, 14,000 tweets, and 5,000 comments.
His first book, The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, published in 1989, is regarded as the first publication for a general audience about climate change and has been printed in over 20 languages. In The Age of Missing Information, published in 1992 and widely used in colleges and high schools, McKibben compared the content of 100 cable TV channels to a day spent in nature. Subsequent titles include Hope, Human and Wild; God, Job, and the Scale of Creation; Maybe One; Long Distance; Enough and Wandering Home. In recent years he has published Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future; Eaarth and The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of essays from various publications spanning 25 years.
Bill McKibben is also widely known for carrying out highly effective activism campaigns. In 2007 he organized one of the largest global warming protests to date called the ‘Step It Up National Day of Climate Action’. Step It Up was a nationwide campaign demanding action on global warming by the U.S. Congress. In 2008 he co-founded 350.org, an international grassroots campaign aiming to mobilize a global climate movement around a common call to action. Since 2009, 350.org has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries, much of it though its creative use of internet tools and social media. The organization has offices in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
In 2011 and 2012 McKibben led a massive demonstration against the Keystone XL pipeline project, urging President Obama to get tougher on the causes of climate change. He was arrested for tying himself to a gate at the White House and spent three days in jail in Washington D.C. as leader of one of the largest civil disobedience actions in decades. Of late, he has been encouraging universities to divest from fossil fuels to make the statement that it is wrong to profit from industries that are destructive to the environment.
McKibben holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges and is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. He has been called “the world’s best green journalist” by Time magazine.
Says McKibben, “We’ve got to go to renewable energy. We can do it. There were days this summer when the Germans generated more than half the electricity they used from solar panels within their borders. We could do it. The only question is if we will do it, in time.”
Visit his website:
For Climate Action
Books by McKibben:
Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math (Rolling Stone)
Bill McKibben’s Thought Bubble: The Fight of Our Time (3 min)
On Climate Change with Bill Maher (12 min)
Why I Spent 2 Days in Jail Protesting the Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline (Democracy Now, 14 min)