Bill McKibben, founder of and author most recently of Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance, is initiator of Tar Sands Action. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont and one of the Sojourners contributing editors. 

Posts By This Author

The Ugliest Word in the English Language: Fracking

by Bill McKibben 06-20-2011
I think I know the ugliest word in the English language -- a neologism, actually, coined to describe the technique for pumping liquid at high pressure into rock to open up cracks so that natural ga

Climate Change: Just the Facts

by Bill McKibben 04-01-2011

The fossil fuel industry is the main impediment to real change. Why? Because they are making money. Exxon made more money in 2009 than any company in the history of money.

The Planet Cries Out

by Bill McKibben 03-01-2011

We need to clear the polluted political air before we'll have a real chance to clear the actual atmosphere.

Time to Take It to the Streets

by Bill McKibben 01-01-2011
At this point the mechanisms are pretty clear: Burn fossil fuel and wreck the planet.

Nonviolent civil disobedience has been a less effective tactic in this country in the past few decades for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is probably that our woes are more complicated than in an earlier age. If there’s an exception to this rule, it's the issue I've spent much of my life working on: climate change.

True, climate change is rooted in complex science, but at this point the mechanisms are pretty clear: Burn fossil fuel and wreck the planet. It carries a strong moral edge: The people who burn the least suffer the most. And there are a series of relatively obvious villains: oil and coal barons, who not only profit from the carbon but use their proceeds to foul the debate with endless propaganda.

Since campaigners have in many cases changed their own lives, and tried for two decades the obvious tactics, such as legislative advocacy, without result, maybe the time has come to heighten the stakes, with mass action at the most obvious sites, from coal-fired power plants to corporate headquarters and congressional offices. Indeed, brave people have already begun: More than 100 were arrested, for instance, in a recent D.C. protest about mountaintop removal coal mining.

But using this tactic effectively will require some other changes.

A Problem of Biblical Proportions

by Bill McKibben 11-01-2010

The summer's weather can safely be described as biblical, in the sense that newspaper writers generally use the word -- that is, loud, scary, and dangerous.

Time for Some Angry Work

by Bill McKibben 07-01-2010
We're heading in a direction "not compatible with the planet to which life on earth is adapted."

Time for Some Angry Work

by Bill McKibben 06-24-2010
I'd say Barack Obama's long and often tenuous honeymoon with progressive Americans took what looks like a lethal blow in spring 2010.

Water, Water, Everywhere

by Bill McKibben 06-01-2010
If there is one commodity we should think about collectively, it's water.

If there is one commodity we should think about collectively, it's water.

Copenhagen's 'Hail Mary'

by Bill McKibben 04-01-2010
Reason wasn't enough. Power will decide, as power usually does.

Why Copenhagen?

by Bill McKibben 12-01-2009

The witness of Denmark.

A Difference that Matters

by Bill McKibben 09-01-2009

I am writing these words on the train from Zurich to Geneva, looking up from my keyboard to see snowcapped mountains hanging over the lake.

Video: Bill McKibben on The Colbert Report

by Bill McKibben 08-21-2009
Earlier this week, environmental activist (and Sojourners columnist<

The Price of Victory

by Bill McKibben 07-01-2009

Winning can be nearly as hard as losing. Everything changed for the American environmental movement with Barack Obama’s victory.

Sounding the Alarm Bell

by Bill McKibben 05-01-2009

The next step for the climate change movement.

The Leadership Gap on Global Warming

by Bill McKibben 09-19-2007

Here's the word from the physical world: On Sept. 10, scientists studying satellite images of the Arctic reported that sea ice covered 4.32 million square kilometers of the north. The old record, set two years before: 5.34 million square kilometers. Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver, said, "It's amazing. It's simply [...]

Stepping It Up to Save the Earth

by Bill McKibben 07-01-2007

The fight against global warming will require a movement full of fire and prayer. That movement has begun...

Sins of Emission

by Bill McKibben 03-01-2004

No politician seriously believes that Americans are willing to deal with global warming. Is it too late to prove them wrong?

It's the Environment, Stupid

by Bill McKibben 09-01-2002
How could anyone have gotten so out of touch with physical reality?