Environmental Author Bill McKibben Urges Redlands Audience to Take Action


The argument about global climate change is over, but the fight has just begun, said environmental author Bill McKibben during a March 21 talk in Memorial Chapel.

Presented by the Associated Students of the University of Redlands Convocations and Lectures as the annual Cummings Peace Lecture for 2016, the event was supported by the Chaplain’s Office and the Stauffer Center for Science and Mathematics.

During his talk, McKibben painted a grim portrait of the earth’s future. Last year’s global temperature was the hottest on record, topping 2014, which held the previous heat record. “The real scary thing,” he said, “is that we’re toward the beginning of this rapid increase in temperature.”

The warming is taking a harsh toll: drought in the Philippines and the Levant, flooding in India and Southeast Asia, bleaching of coral reefs and more extreme weather events worldwide. The cause? It’s us, he said.

Hundreds of scientists worldwide have found human activity is behind global warming, yet some people ignore those warnings and continue polluting. Fortunately, said McKibben, there’s a bright side: “The antibodies are starting to kick in, and the antibodies are us.”

Through McKibben’s organization 350.org, demonstrators have opposed numerous acts that would have damaged the environment, with one of their greatest victories being the derailment of the fourth phase of the Keystone Pipeline. McKibben encouraged the audience to use alternative energy, support businesses and other organizations that use alternative energy and to oppose environmentally unfriendly acts with civil disobedience.

The speaker’s message meshed well with the goal of the lecture series—the Oliver deWolf ’21 and Edith M. Cummings Lecture on World Peace series—that explores topics relating to peace and reconciliation on a national and global scale.

Life’s work:

  • Founded 350.org, a website for the grassroots climate movement that supports keeping carbon in the ground, building a low-carbon economy and pressuring government into limiting emissions.
  • Authored a dozen books, including the groundbreaking The End of Nature and the national bestseller Deep Economy.
  • Frequently writes for The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s.

About Author

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