Bill McKibben is one of the most renowned environmentalists in the world right now. McKibben has been singlehandedly raising the profile of the danger that carbon pollution poses to people, lands and our planet. His organization – 350.org – has a nerve center for information on reducing our carbon footprint before it is too late.
He is also the driving force behind the 10/10/10 International Work Party – a global effort to show world leaders and Congress that we, the people, are willing to work to protect our planet form climate change. More than 7,000 events are planned across the globe – at least one in all but two countries (so far). The work parties range from planting trees to sumo wrestlers in Japan riding bicycles to their matches that day (because if they can do it, certainly the rest of us can too)– visit 350.org to find one in your neighborhood.
But before he helped usher in a world day of service, Bill McKibben went for a walk in the woods with The Wilderness Society along the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina. On a bluebird day, director of climate policy David Moulton, North Carolina director Brent Martin, Assistant VP Leanne Klyza Linck and climate ecologist Pete McKinley, joined McKibben for a walk along a part of the “sea to summit” trail which runs from Asheville to Cape Hatteras.
Later that evening, McKibben opened the Headwaters II conference at the Warren Wilson College – presented by The Wilderness Society and Orion Magazine.
Speaking to an overflow audience at the chapel on the Warren Wilson campus, McKibben shared stories of his first experience organizing a large movement – a thousand person walk across his home state of Vermont – as well as encouraging people to do their own part, but also push their government, business, and their neighbors to protect our air and planet.
“We won’t solve the climate crisis one solar panel at a time,” said McKibben to more than 700 people filling the pews of the chapel, and the dozens of people in the foyer, sitting on the steps out front, and even a few agile environmentalists that somehow got under the eaves of the roof and sat looking in through the windows. “We will only solve it by legislation, and international treaty that puts a price on carbon.”
Speaking in the chapel was a natural place for McKibben to present – and not just because he is also a Sunday School teacher. McKibben was preaching to the converted. However, McKibben went one step further: sending the flock out into the world as missionaries for the planet.
Photo: Bill McKibben hiking the sea to summit trail in North Carolina. October 6, 2010.