Bill McKibben Talks About What’s Next in Climate Action

I received this newsletter today from Bill McKibben at

Dear Friends—

I’m writing this from the lawn in front of the White House.

In front of me there’s a sprawling rally underway, with speakers ranging from indigenous elders to the great Canadian writer Naomi Klein. In back of me, another 243 courageous people are being hauled away to jail — it’s the last day of Phase 1 of the tar sands campaign, and 1,252 North Americans have been arrested, the biggest civil disobedience action this century on this continent.

But we’ve been just as cheered by the help that has poured in from around the world — today, activists in front of the White House held a banner with a huge number on it: 618,428. That’s how many people around the world who signed on to the “Stop the Tar Sands” mega-petition to President Obama, including many of you in the network. Check out this beautiful photo of passion and courage on display:

Photo by Josh Lopez

Click here to see more inspirational photos from D.C.

But this movement does more than sign petitions: many of you stood strong in front of the White House risking arrest, and protesters on every continent have picketed outside embassies and consulates. That makes sense, for global warming is the one problem that affects everyone everywhere.

And the next moment to prove that is Sept. 24 for Moving Planet — the massive day of climate action that will unite people all over the world. We’ve heard news of amazing actions from every corner of the earth -— from a massive bike rally in the Philippines to an incredible eco-festival in Philadelphia. I truly can’t wait to see the pictures pour in.

But here’s why it’s important: we’re not just a movement that opposes things, we’re also a movement that dreams of what’s coming. And we don’t just dream, we also transform those dreams into reality. On September 24, on bike and on foot and on boards, we’re going to point the way towards that future. By days’ end, we’ll have shown why the bicycle is more glamorous than the car, and why the people have the potential to be more powerful than the polluters.

On some days fighting global warming means swallowing hard, mustering your courage, and making a sacrifice — other days it means getting all your friends up in the saddles of their bikes to have some fun and help move the planet forward.

September 24 is the second kind of day; it’s going to be powerful, it’s going to be beautiful, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  Please find or join a local event to get involved.


Bill McKibben for the whole team

I see no events planned in Nevada County for September 24th … yet.

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12 Responses to “Bill McKibben Talks About What’s Next in Climate Action”
  1. Anna Haynes says:

    We should brainstorm on this.

    I slept on this, thought about it, watched the video.

    But what I came up with doesn’t really fit with their “take it to the govt”, it’s (instead) a “tale of two futures” Pre-Enactment (one tableau in which we continued to destroy, one in which we stopped polluting) – preferably with lots of children involved.

    But like I said, it doesn’t really fit their rally-style tone & sample actions.

    What do you think?

  2. Anna Haynes says:

    But people do need to come to understand (thus it needs to be explained, succintly), that the “we” who must act is actually “our representatives” – I support the goal of the Sept24 effort (“push for our governments to act”) 110%.

    I think people need to read Sharon Begley (link) (& others?) about this personal/community vs. govt. differential in effectiveness.

    (even with an 80% participation rate the strategy of living poor isn’t working … )

  3. Anna Haynes says:

    Actually, this is the more relevant Begley piece: On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Let’s … Go Shopping! (link) (Buying green and changing personal behavior won’t save the planet.)

  4. Anna Haynes says:

    Throwing out some ideas –

    Here’s a way we could incorporate the push for government action: beforehand, survey the city & county planning members and our Supervisors/Councilmembers to see what *they* understand of climate science projections & of the relative impact of actions these levels of government can take (e.g. land use regs changes vs. adding hybrids to the vehicle fleet); and have Sept 24 include communication to them about & based on what the survey found.

    Also, personifications – someone to be Uncle Sam, to enable communication there. And someone pulchritudinous to be Climatic Wealth; and for the other tableau, a scarecrow to be Climate Poverty,
    (or an angry beast? “the climate system is an angry beast, and we are poking it with sticks”)

  5. Anna Haynes says:

    Self-indulgent personal note: I do wish we had more future-concerned activists in Nevada County to take this project on – on rereading the description, it goes against my nature, inclination, skills etc. “Moving Planet is a worldwide rally to demand [govt] solutions to the climate crisis”… I don’t think we in Nevada County are informed enough about the need for government involvement, to do much demanding – education must come first.

    Hmmm…maybe this is a task for SYRCL?
    (UC Davis: Warming streams could be the end for salmon)

  6. Anna Haynes says:

    Yes, SYRCL needs to take this on – it is *right* up their alley.

    “Our Vision: We envision a free-flowing Yuba River that supports wild salmon, trout and other native fish in their ancestral waters….” (link)

    “SYRCL Board President Elizabeth Soderstrom… also noted that …[there’s] an historic opportunity to improve conditions for endangered Chinook salmon that spawn in the lower Yuba River. SYRCL is also hailing a recent ruling…to improve salmon passage at Daguerre Point Dam and requiring the Army Corps to develop a plan to protect wild native spring-run salmon from stray hatchery salmon – a key victory in SYRCL’s long battle to restore the Yuba River’s fishery ” (link)

    “Our efforts are now coalesced into a comprehensive Save Yuba Salmon campaign with the goal of recovering an abundant Wild Salmon population to regenerate the ecological, economic, and cultural foundations of our bioregion.” (link)

    And they’ve got a live audience a week ahead, that they could educate on the basics, esp. why we need government action – the Sept 17 “great river cleanup” crew, at the post-cleanup Free Hearty Barbeque Lunch.

    I’ll ask ’em.

  7. Anna Haynes says:

    There is now a local event, but a “rally for government action” it ain’t. “Join us in harvesting and celebrating our glorious garden. Get moving towards a more sustainable future in the Woolman gardens and orchards, which provide a majority of food for Woolman staff and students.”

    I’m going to get back to contacting our local better-future nonprofits, & see if any of them consider the next several decades to lie within their mission. If not, maybe some vision statements should be revised.

  8. Anna Haynes says:

    OK, maybe I was a bit frustrated there. But the silence, on the looming problem that will doom these groups’ missions if not addressed, is baffling.

  9. Anna Haynes says:

    Yo, Don (or anyone else), a last minute Q – ideas on where we can hold a viewing tomorrow night (Wed) for the Climate Reality Project’s “24 Hours of Reality” streaming video, explaining urgency of climate change? ( not that I figure we can last 24 hrs, but it’d be wonderful to be able to gather together, to watch with others)

  10. depelton says:

    Sorry, Anna, I don’t know where this could be shown.

    We’ve got other plans ourselves.

    Would the community room in Madelyn Helling Library be available on such short notice? Unlikely i suppose. It’s perfect (the Nevada County Historical Society often has meetings there).

  11. depelton says:

    Uh .. the Unitarian Church in GV?

    Also, Sierra Commons has a public room which we think they make available to non-profits.

    The Methodist Church on Broad Street? (where Sharon Delgado is a minister)?

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