Activist Profile – Bill Mckibben

Authored by: Hans Baer

Routledge Handbook of the Climate Change Movement

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415839259
eBook ISBN: 9780203773536
Adobe ISBN: 9781135038878


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Bill McKibben is a renowned American environmentalist and the Shumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont. As an undergraduate student at Harvard University, he served as the president of the Harvard Crimson, the campus student newsletter. McKibben’s first book The End of Nature which initially was serialized in The New Yorker propelled him to fame as an important environmental writer, in large part because it was regarded to be the first book about climate change targeted at a general audience (McKibben 1989). McKibben has since then authored numerous other books. In terms of climate change, other important books that he has written are Deep Economy (McKibben 2007a), Fight Global Warming Now (McKibben 2007b), Eaarth (McKibben 2010), and The Global Warming Reader (McKibben 2011). In Deep Economy, McKibben (2007a) argues that humanity must move beyond the growth paradigm as the paramount economic objective and calls for localization of energy, food, and even cultural production. In Eaarth, he urges people to create societies and communities that concentrate on the essentials, such as small agriculture, rather than on many of the luxuries associated with modernity which has been highly dependent on relatively inexpensive fossil fuels. McKibben’s writing places him squarely within the green social democratic wing of the climate movement rather than the much smaller democratic eco-socialist wing (Baer 2012: 250–292). He has advocated carbon trading and until 2012 was open to nuclear power as a purported climate change mitigation strategy.

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