The Wilderness Society and Bill McKibben open Headwaters Conference with Orion Magazine and Warren Wilson College

Oct 6, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The following statement was released by David Moulton, director of climate change policy at The Wilderness Society at the opening of the Headwaters II event at the Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats to our nation – from the rich forests like the Pisgah and the Nantahala here in North Carolina, to our sandy coasts, immense plains, and snow-covered mountain peaks. A warming world threatens all of these in different ways, but the solutions to it are universal. Cutting carbon emissions and protecting and adapting our natural resources – like our forests – is the only way to protect ourselves from a coming climate change disaster.

“Leading the charge in this fight is Bill McKibben, the founder of and the author of eaarth, a new book that examines the plight that our planet faces from climate change. He is also the driving force behind 10/10/10 – a global initiative to bring communities together to fight climate change. The Wilderness Society is proud to join with Warren Wilson College and Orion Magazine to bring Mr. McKibben to Headwaters II to share his vision for a sustainable future.

“Our wild places are the front lines of fighting climate change. Our forests trap and safely contain hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide – the chief driver of global warming – for hundreds of years, all while helping to regulate temperatures and provide clean air and drinking water.

“However, they cannot stop climate change alone. Protecting our wild places from climate change means first ending the free ride that polluters have enjoyed for decades, dumping their carbon pollution in our air and forcing others to pay for the cleanup.

“The First Law of Holes is that when you are in one, stop digging. We have dug a huge global warming hole for ourselves, and the right way out of it is to ask the polluters to stop polluting.

“In the meantime, we must build up the resiliency of our wild places, and prepare them for the unavoidable effects of climate change. This means real work in rural communities. Restoring ecosystems creates more than 20 well-paying jobs per million dollars invested – and these jobs can’t be outsourced to India or China.

“Even though Congress is not addressing climate change legislation this year, we must continue to push to lower our carbon emissions and strengthen our public lands to fight against climate change. Fighting climate change happens here in Asheville, and across the country, on October 10th and every day.”