Bill McKibben: Global Fossil Fuel Resistance Underway
In an interview with climate activist and 350.org founder Bill McKibben, Chris Martenson asks important questions about how citizens around the world are fighting climate change. McKibben speaks of a social movement that is local, distributed, and powerful. The movement is challenging capitalism, and focusing on consumers as active producers of energy, for instance through solar thermal, through proper financing and marketing.
The barriers to renewable energy, according to McKibben, involve strong opposition from the fossil fuel industry. However, grassroots mobilization has power. McKibben cites the recent gay marriage win as one example of how politics can change based on mass opinions and activism.
Food is mentioned once, by Martenson:
“Anywhere from ten to maybe nineteen calories of fossil fuels are sort of embedded and subsidized in a single calorie of food. So we are literally eating fossil fuels in one respect.”
Otherwise, sorely missing from this discussion, as is typical with McKibben, is animal agriculture (although he has written about it, albeit with some errors)* and changing our behavior around what we eat. Big dairy and big meat are just as pernicious, if not more, than big oil. As much as 51% of global greenhouse gases come from animal agriculture when we account for life cycle emissions (raising, feeding, transporting and processing). The deforestation, land degradation, water scarcity, animal cruelty, and lifestyle disease impacts of meat and dairy, as Suzy Cameron refers to in her account of her own transformation, provide further impetus to focus on shifting away from animal products.
Yes, solar and other renewables are important for our climate future. AND, every single meal we eat can make a difference.
*In his 2010 article for Orion, McKibben stated that the study showing that 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture has been discredited – a rebuttal was indeed written but the study was successfully defended and the rebutters did not pursue their stance. Secondly, McKibben states that grass-fed beef is good for us…but he fails to mention it’s actually terrible for climate change.