Climate Now Episode 84

January 30, 2023

Bill McKibben’s take on building a successful climate movement


Featured Experts

Bill Mckibben
Author, Activist, Founder of Third Act


Bill Mckibben

Author, Activist, Founder of Third Act

Bill McKibben is a writer and climate activist. He founded 350.org, an international grassroots climate campaign, and Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate and racial justice. He’s written over 20 books and contributes regularly to The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and more.

In this Episode

On April 22, 1970, 20 million people across the U.S. marched, attended speeches and sat in teach-ins, marking the first Earth Day, and spurring on the enactment of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the founding of the EPA, all of which occurred later that year. Then and now, activism has been critical to enacting environmental and climate policy, and in shifting attitudes of the general public to the urgency of mitigating climate change, but why is activism so important, and how can it be done effectively?

Climate Now sat down with Bill McKibben, author, journalist and environmental activist who has led protest movements against development of the Keystone Pipeline Project (which aimed to pipe oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to Nebraska where it could link with other pipelines heading to the refineries of Texas), and for the global divestment from fossil fuels (currently amounting to $40 trillion of lost capital for fossil fuel companies, and counting). Bill joined us to discuss why activism is so important to enacting climate policy, how the biggest movements come together, and the work that needs to be done next.

Key Questions:

  1. What is the role of activism in the fight against climate change?
  2. What are the key ingredients to building a successful protest movement?
  3. What lessons have can be taken from prior activist campaigns, such as against the Keystone Pipeline and for fossil fuel divestment, that inform the next steps in the climate movement?

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