By Neil Leary

Bill McKibben, in his role as a ‘professional bummer-outer’, began his public lecture at Dickinson College by first speaking about the bad stuff, “the valley” – what we are doing to the atmosphere, the climate and the oceans, the changes they are making in the world around us, and the risks those changes are creating. He began this way because, as he said, “Unless we understand the pace and scale of the problem that we face, we have no way of understanding the pace and scale of the solutions that are required.”

Not radical?

Not radical?

 

McKibben then moved on to talk about what he has done and is doing personally, with students, with 350.org, and with others to bring attention to climate change. To make it politically untenable for elected officials to ignore climate change and continue to take no action. To make it socially unacceptable to profit from the extraction and burning of fossil energy.

He also spoke to us about our responsibilities for action. Responsibilities as individuals, as students, faculty and employees of a college, and the responsibilities of institutions such as Dickinson. His words give us much to think about. We are already engaged as an institution in acting on climate change. We teach about climate change, its causes, its consequences and strategies for limiting climate change and its negative impacts. We provide our students, and other members of the Dickinson community, with sills and encouragement to be active, engaged citizens. We are, as a signatory of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are generated in operating our campus.

But we are also invested in corporations in the fossil energy sector. What will we do about this? What should we do? Dialogue on these questions began at Dickinson before McKibben’s visit, and his visit has energized and inspired many who are engaged in the dialogue.

Much of what McKibben said that evening is familiar to me, having spent much of the past 20 years working on climate change. But one thing he said was new to me and gave me a different framing for thinking about the problem: there’s nothing radical about advocating to limit CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 ppm; radical is making money from fossil energy. Here’s what he said:

“There is nothing, and I mean nothing, radical about anything that I’ve been saying. All we are asking for is a world that works like the world we were born into, and that every human being for 10,000 years has been born into. That’s not radical by any reasonable definition. That’s a conservative request that we are making.

 Radicals work at oil companies. If you are willing to get up in the morning and go to work making a fortune by altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere, when science has told you what it will do, once you’ve seen by watching the melting artic what it will do, if you are willing to do that, then you are engaged in a more radical act than any human being who has come before you.”

McKibben went on to say: “And, if you’re willing to hold stock in that company, then you are, at least, a kind of participant in that radicalism.  Our job is to check that radicalism.”

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tilerson. Radical?

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tilerson. Radical?

Through the investments of Dickinson’s endowment, we are a participant in the radicalism of filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and changing the planet. I am of mixed minds about what to do about this. Divestment would end our participation in making profit from fossil energy. But we would still be implicated through our consumption of fossil energy, and through our use of resources that were produced and delivered to us with fossil energy. For me, the priority is moving our entire society to reduce quickly and deeply our emissions of greenhouse gases by conserving energy and other resources, improving energy efficiency and transitioning away from fossil energy sources. Will participation in the divestment movement help bring that change? That’s an important and but open question.

24 Responses to “What is radical?”

  1. This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.

    About Us
    Learn more about the class below, or, visit the course website at dickinsoncop15 weebly site
    Recent Posts
    What is radical?
    Welcome!
    Who We Are
    Financial promises delivered?
    COP15: high hope – poor outcome. COP16: low hope – ???? outcome
    Categories
    Categories
    Previous Posts
    Previous Posts
    K2C Flickr Photos
    IMG_2605
    IMG_2605

    IMG_2598
    IMG_2598

    IMG_0181
    IMG_0181

    Kyoto to Copenhagen Research Team
    Dickinson College
    ——
    dickinsoncop15.weebly.com
    Our Blog (Here!)
    Twitter: Kyoto2Copnhagen

    Exhibit Space at COP15: H-044
    Skype: kyoto2copenhagen
    Phone: 717.607.2676

    kyoto2copenhagen@gmail.com

    Search
    Search…
    Connect With Us
    Follow us on Twitter! Follow us on Facebook! flickr feed stumbleupon
    Your Comments
    Agario Modded on What is radical?
    io games on COP15: high hope – poor outcome. COP16: low hope – ???? outcome
    Brett on Hillary Clinton’s Press Conference in Copenhagen
    Climate Change and Youth
    Another China Youth Blog
    China Youth COP15
    Climate Politics: IR and the Environment
    Copenhagen Perspectives Blog
    POP COP15
    SustainUS
    U. of Montana Student
    United for Climate
    Youth Climate.org
    COP15 Resources
    COP15 Official Site
    Dickinson College Sustainability
    Managing for Resilience
    People’s Climate Action Calendar
    RSS
    Copyright © 2017 From Kyoto to Copenhagen All rights reserved. Amazing Grace theme by Vladimir Prelovac

  2. This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.

    About Us
    Learn more about the class below, or, visit the course website at dickinsoncop15 weebly site
    Recent Posts
    What is radical?
    Welcome!
    Who We Are
    Financial promises delivered?
    COP15: high hope – poor outcome. COP16: low hope – ???? outcome
    Categories
    Categories
    Previous Posts
    Previous Posts
    K2C Flickr Photos
    Ukraine Fossil of the Day
    Ukraine Fossil of the Day

    IMG_0353
    IMG_0353

    IMG_2600
    IMG_2600

    Kyoto to Copenhagen Research Team
    Dickinson College
    ——
    dickinsoncop15.weebly.com
    Our Blog (Here!)
    Twitter: Kyoto2Copnhagen

    Exhibit Space at COP15: H-044
    Skype: kyoto2copenhagen
    Phone: 717.607.2676

    kyoto2copenhagen@gmail.com

    Search
    Search…
    Connect With Us
    Follow us on Twitter! Follow us on Facebook! flickr feed stumbleupon
    Your Comments
    io games on COP15: high hope – poor outcome. COP16: low hope – ???? outcome
    Brett on Hillary Clinton’s Press Conference in Copenhagen
    Topfillers on Human, we found your fingerprints
    Climate Change and Youth
    Another China Youth Blog
    China Youth COP15
    Climate Politics: IR and the Environment
    Copenhagen Perspectives Blog
    POP COP15
    SustainUS
    U. of Montana Student
    United for Climate
    Youth Climate.org
    COP15 Resources
    COP15 Official Site
    Dickinson College Sustainability
    Managing for Resilience
    People’s Climate Action Calendar
    RSS
    Copyright © 2017 From Kyoto to Copenhagen All rights reserved. Amazing Grace theme by Vladimir Prelovac.

  3. | Aşk mı Kaderi Kovalar, Kader mi Aşkı? – HD
    3.584.747 görüntüleme

    5 B

    599

    PAYLAŞ

  4. Play Agar.io. asdas das ds

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.