Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, including The End of Nature (1989), the first book for a general audience on climate change, and Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (2010). He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. He is a frequent contributor to various publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.
A scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, Bill holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"Agriculture is the oldest environmental problem," the Land Institute's Wes Jackson tells us early in this 27-minute video. Through interviews with 11 scientists, researchers and environmental experts, this short documentary considers that fate of agriculture and the environment in the age of agri-business and climate change.
Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Tad Patzek , Wendell Berry, Mark Shepard and the rest of the cast explain that big agriculture's insatiable need for revenue not only afflicts the environment with toxic fertilizers, pesticides and carbon emissions, it degrades the state of agriculture itself by destroying the soil and subverting the natural evolution of animals, plants and insects. It is as unsustainable as it is unstoppable.
The local food movement and the resurgence of small farms provide a glimmer of hope on a gloomy horizon. "Last year was the first time in 150 years there were more farms and not fewer," McKibben says. Chomsky puts the dilemma in perspective when he says, "On the one hand you have highly concentrated capital supported by state power. On the other hand you have people trying to do things on their own. That's not just agriculture that's over the whole society."
This American Life: Hot in my backyard
Host Ira Glass tells the story of writer turned activist Bill McKibben. McKibben is trying to reinvent progressive politics when it come to climate change. He’s attempting to create a divestment campaign modeled after the successful campaign against apartheid in South Africa. The campaign is designed recast the discussion of climate change with fossil fuel companies as the villains.
This is Part 3 of the programme. Listen to Parts 1 and 2 here.