Bill McKibben, who wrote the first book on climate change 22 years ago (The End of Nature), has given a fiery speech at the Power Shift 2011 conference calling for mass non-violent civil disobedience in the fight to urgently address climate change.
McKibben has said a sizable and powerful social movement needs to be built. He pointed out that on the first Earth Day in 1970, there were 20 million people in the streets, one in 10 Americans, and that is about the size needed again.
He explained that historically, the U.S. has been the biggest source of carbon emissions in the world,
“yet last summer the U.S. Senate refused to even take a vote on the tepid, moderate tame climate bill that was before it” and that “Last week the house voted 248 to 174 to pass a resolution saying global warming wasn’t real. It was the most embarrassing vote the congress has ever taken.”
In addition, McKibben pointed out that 2 weeks ago, even the White House signed off on opening 750 million tons of coal under federal land in Wyoming to coal mining. That’s like opening 300 new coal-fired power plants and running them for a year.
McKibben added that he thinks the people should not wait for the politicians to act, saying we are going to have to create the future we need ourselves.
Further, he maintained that the movement not only needs to be bigger, it needs to be sharper and more aggressive, and the fight needs to be fought on every front at once. McKibben asserts that,
“Persuasion will not do, we need to fight.” “We need to fight non-violently and with civil disobedience.”
He maintains that people engaging in this fight to address climate change are not radicals, and that fundamentally altering the composition of the atmosphere is the most radical thing humans have ever done.
What are your thoughts? Is this the way it needs to happen?