Ask McKibben Anything

Ask McKibben Anything

[Updated with many more questions added by readers – a huge response] Bill McKibben is one of the world’s leading environmentalists and writers:

In 2009, he led the organization of, which organized what Foreign Policy magazine called “the largest ever global coordinated rally of any kind,” with 5,200 simultaneous demonstrations in 181 countries. The magazine named him to its inaugural list of the 100 most important global thinkers, and MSN named him one of the dozen most influential men of 2009.

For more, check out Rowan Jacobsen’s profile of the man and his mission:

McKibben was just 27 when he wrote The End of Nature. It gave him a reputation as a sort of eco-Scrooge, but it’s not the screed people tend to remember. “Its heart is a philosophical essay,” says McKibben, “and its dominant emotion is sadness, not outrage.”

So have the forces rallied after McKibben’s notable Rolling Stone piece on global warming?

“Movements are very odd things,” he said as we crossed a quiet brook that, during the long night of Irene, had become an improbable scourge. “They tend to be beneath the surface for a while as they gather strength. Look at the civil-rights movement. We tend to compress history in our minds, but there were basically five years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott when nothing happened. The movement was building all the time, it just wasn’t strong enough yet.”

A few weeks after our walk, Colorado spontaneously combusted. Midwest corn rolled up its leaves and died. In June alone, 3,282 temperature records were broken or tied across the U.S. A rare megastorm called a derecho tore a 700-mile path from Indiana to Washington, D.C., knocking out the air conditioning of 4.3 million people. McKibben helped everyone connect the dots.

You know the drill by now: To submit a question for Bill, simply enter it into the field at the top of the Urtak poll (ignore the “YES or NO question” aspect and simply enter any open-ended question). We primed the poll with questions you can vote on right away – click “Yes” if you have a strong interest in seeing him answer the question or “No” if you don’t particularly care. Thanks to everyone for participating.