Post Carbon Fellow Bill McKibben was interviewed by The Guardian ahead of the Global Day of Action on Climate to coincide with the Cancun COP16 climate talks.
From the article:
For the first 25 years of his career, McKibben was a writer. The son of journalists, and president while at university of the Harvard Crimson newspaper, he carved out a niche as a classy environmental reporter, publishing a book every few years. The Age of Missing Information contrasted the knowledge gleaned from cable TV over 24 hours with a day spent on a mountain. Maybe One tackled the controversial subject of human population – McKibben and his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, have one 17-year-old daughter, Sophie, who is founder-editor of a children's magazine. He wrote about hiking, skiing and genetic engineering, and an anti-consumerist essay about how to spend less than $100 on Christmas.Full of clearly presented information, McKibben's books were also filled with description and feeling. He left New York, where his first job was writing for the New Yorker's Talk of the Town column, and moved first to the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York, and then to Vermont. He became a nature writer, devoted to finding meaning in landscape: "On the mountain, of course, death surrounds you always. Dead trees, the insects and the birds excavating their guts; dead leaves under your feet beginning to disintegrate with a year of rain and snow; dead bones in the woods."He looked back at the work of earlier explorers, marvelled at the joy of the American outdoors, "not the dark and forbidding wilderness of European fairytales but a blooming, humming, fertile paradise". The British academic and author Robert Macfarlane recalls the impact of The End of Nature's "astonishing central idea, that the entire globe is post-natural, whether that be a sunset or the Arctic, everything bears our traces. Encountering that idea for the first time was incredibly powerful."Environmental activism was always something that interested McKibben: his first book included a discussion of the radical ideas and direct action campaigns of Earth First! and other conservationists in the western US. But he was a writer: he and Halpern built their home on land once owned by the poet Robert Frost, whose own summer cabin is nearby, "so there's some good writing karma, and lots of trees"."I think my assumption when I was 27 was that explaining rationally all the trouble we're in would be sufficient, and that politicians and whoever would act. I'm older now and I think I've come to understand a little more clearly that we're going to need to build some power if we're going to mount a serious challenge," he says.