Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BILL McKIBBEN on GLOBAL WARNING, DAMAGE ON THE ENVIRONMNET, RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE. Food Revolution Summit

Tuesday, May 1. Fourth day of Food Revolution Summit: Eating As If The Earth Mattered (Which It Most Certainly Does!)


Bill McKibben on Rapid climate change and Global Warning!! Organize, mobilize, get involved, make a collective difference. Do not remain voiceless, raise your voice and your thoughts!

Words from the Food Revolution Summit:

Bill McKibben on the food-climate connection. Bill is the founder of 350.org, which has become the biggest grassroots climate campaign on the planet.  He has been described by the Boston Globe as “probably the most important environmentalist” in the United States.
Bill will share his take on the urgency of our climate situation, and the tremendous point of          leverage that our food choices provide. Get the full scoop (sorry, but coming from what was once an ice cream family, I tend to over-use that word!) and find out what it means to your life.
This is a small excerpt of the interview:
Ocean Robbins: Welcome to The Food Revolution Summit where we explore how you can heal your body and your world with food. This is Ocean Robbins and I am joined by my dad, John Robbins in welcoming our guest, Bill McKibben. Bill is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989 which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change and has been translated into over twenty languages. Bill is the founder of the grass roots climate campaign 350.org which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009.  Bill is a Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper, Rolling Stone, Outside and many other magazines.  He was described by Time Magazine as “the planet’s best green journalist” and by the Boston Globe as “probably the most important environmentalist in the United States.” Bill, it is a huge honor for us to speak with you now and to be able to share your insights with everyone who is participating.

Bill McKibben: What a pleasure for me.John Robbins:   You have been fighting global warming now for nearly a quarter century and during this time our politicians, for the most part simply ignored the growing and increasingly overwhelming scientific consensus, during this time as you have often pointed out, both the scale and the pace of the peril have increased substantially.  What has surprised you on this journey?
Bill McKibben: When I wrote The End of Nature 23 years ago we knew most of what we needed to know about climate change. We knew when you burned coal and gas and oil that you put carbon in the atmosphere and we knew that the molecular structure of carbon trapped heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space.  The only thing we didn’t know was, as you say, how hard and fast this was going to pinch. The story of the last twenty years is it is pinching harder and faster than we would have expected. So far we have raised the temperature of the earth about 1-degree.  We are trapping about ¾’s of a watt of extra solar energy per square meter of the earth’s surface. These numbers are not huge and we wouldn’t have thought twenty years ago that they would lead to huge results but the earth was more finely balanced than we realized. In that twenty years we have left behind the Holocene, that 10,000 year period ­­­that scientists describe with its benign climatic stability which saw the rise of human civilizations.  We are moving into something else. There is 40% less sea ice in the Arctic in the summer and the oceans are about 30% more acid and the atmosphere holds a staggering amount more water leading to more drought and more floods.  We are at the beginning of the climate change era. There is much worse to come unless we get our act together quickly, but already the damage is far greater than we would have thought twenty years ago.
John Robbins:   I have heard people say that we have to care for the environment because nature is fragile. I always think the truth is a lot more disturbing than that, nature is immensely powerful and it seems that we are unleashing potentially unstoppable planetary forces.
Bill McKibben: Yes, and it is always hard to figure out what fragile and powerful and things mean in this respect. We are unleashing very strong forces, the natural cycles around us are no longer quite as natural if we mean untouched by man. Things like drought and flood are much stronger. On the other hand, there are large parts of nature that are fragile and vulnerable and the expectation is that rapid climate change will drive extinct a huge percentage of the species on this planet, perhaps the same kind of percentage that we have seen in past geological epochs only when huge asteroids struck the earth. In this case of course the asteroid is us and the frustrating part is we don’t need to do it. We know much of what we need to know to avert this.  We are just not doing it because it is in the strong financial interest of a small group of human beings to keep us in our present course.
John Robbins:   There are so many factors involved in global warming and since this is The Food Revolution Summit I want with you a little bit about the role of agriculture and food production. Eating more locally grown food reduces the carbon footprint of our diets, so does eating more organic foods because synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are almost entirely made from oil and natural gas.
Bill McKibben: That’s right, eating lower on the food chain helps.

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