Environment
5:18 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Environmentalist Bill McKibben: I Don't Spend Time on Climate Change Skeptics

Today marks the one-year anniversary of "Superstorm Sandy," the post-tropical cyclone that killed 117 Americans, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and did billions of dollars in damage.

Bill McKibben takes a look back at his journey to becoming a leading climate change activist in his new memoir.
Bill McKibben takes a look back at his journey to becoming a leading climate change activist in his new memoir.
Credit Bill McKibben

Climatologists say that the storm’s strength may well have been exacerbated by warming ocean temperatures brought on by climate change.  

That’s not a surprise to Bill McKibben.  He’s the founder of the environmental group, 350.org, which works to affect climate change policy around the world. 

"For me, the important task is getting the 65 of 70 percent of Americans who know we have a real problem and get some of them actually really active in doing something about it," he says. "That’s enough to solve this problem."

But McKibben, who started as a staff writer at The New Yorker, describes himself as an unlikely activist.  His new memoir, Oil and Honey, details that major transition in his life, as he led one part of the fight against the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

He says he's dealt with his fair share of critics and skeptics.

"I don’t write people off, but I don’t spend my time trying to convince the last 20 percent of Americans who are skeptical about this stuff to believe in it," he says. "Mother Nature is doing a perfectly good job of that, and at a certain point, everyone – just by looking outside their door – is going to understand the trouble that we’re in from climate change."

McKibben was in Wisconsin this month for a talk at the Oconomowoc Arts Center.