Thursday, April 8, 2010
Hot tub soaks do wonders for shoulders carrying the weight of the world.
A week at Esalen, mentoring eco-journalists, helped revive activist-author Bill McKibben before the launch of an international book tour. He calls his latest, Eaarth, a “natural sequel” to his 1989 The End of Nature, the first general-audience book on climate change
“At the time, global warming hadn’t happened yet,” the Middlebury College scholar-in-residence explains before an April 2 talk at Monterey Institute of International Studies. “This is a much more practical account. Here’s what we’ve done to the earth: We’ve turned it into a new planet with different ground rules. Here’s how we’re going to have to live on that planet.”
Most of McKibben’s energy these days is focused on the movement he founded, 350.org, which aims to raise worldwide urgency for climate change action. The number refers to the maximum atmospheric carbon level scientists consider safe for our planet. Last October the movement organized 5,200 demonstrations in 182 countries. (Check out the Weekly’s contribution at tinyurl.com/MCW350.)
Despite the international inspiration, world leaders couldn’t reach a climate deal in Copenhagen last December. “It was a bust, in part because there wasn’t enough political pressure to outweigh the pressure from industry,” McKibben says. “So that’s why we try to build bigger movements all the time.”
This year, 350.org plans a global work party Oct. 10. “There will be thousands of places around the world where people will be putting in solar panels or digging in community gardens,” he says. “Not because we think we can solve climate change one project at a time, but because we need to be able to say to our putative leaders, ‘We’re getting to work; what about you guys?’”