Bill McKibben—along with Rick Fields, Chogyam Trungpa, Henry David Thoreau, Malcolm Gladwell, Dr. Reggie Ray, Pema Chodron, Michael Pollan—has a voice that’s able to jump out and grab your heart, meet your experience, and change your mind.
Here he—in one paragraph—managed to connect with me about Climate Change, a subject I read about every day, a subject I’m overwhelmed and jaded about…and re-inspire me with a sense of purpose and can-do.
So, I thought I’d pass along his words:
…we screwed up that excuse last November. With the advent of the Obama administration , there was suddenly at least the possibility of real change. It’s populated by people who believe in science, who think about the future instead of obsessing over the past, and who even believe in working with other countries.
But it would be utterly foolish to imagine they can do what they need to do by themselves.
For one thing, the scale of change required is so massive it must frighten even Barack. Look, in the last couple of years the science has been unremittingly dark. We now know that global warming is not a future problem—that it’s crashing over our heads right now. We know that from the evidence around us: the melting Arctic ice, the rapidly dying forests of the north, the spike in methane releases from beneath the tundra. And we know it from our best scientists: James Hansen and his team at NASA have said, unequivocally, that any concentration of carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible with the planet “on which civilization developed and to which life is adapted.” That’s Not Good News, since the current level is 387 parts per million and rising. That’s Not Good News because it means that we need to move very, very fast—Hansen’s data indicates that if the planet hasn’t stopped burning coalby 2030, we’ll overwhelm the planet’s systems and never get back where we need to go.
So we have a target—350 parts per million—and we have a political process, not only in this country, but internationally. It will culminate…