Our Work

Bill McKibben, Author, VNRC Advisor: Act Now on Climate

1/31/2013

“The issue on which we will all be judged 50 years hence is: How quickly and how boldly did we move to address the greatest challenge humans have ever faced?

That is what Bill McKibben — renowned author, climate expert and Vermonter — asked yesterday in a presentation to the Vermont House of Representatives when he talked about the consequences of our societal addition to fossil fuels.

To a standing-room-only crowd, McKibben carefully outlined how the earth’s temperature has risen — and will continue to rise without swift action — and what that means to us all. He cited recent catastrophic events and what we will invariably face in a warmer, weirder world — more frequent and extreme weather events, food shortage, energy insecurity, economic hardship.

He used Irene as Vermont’s most recent and powerful example, stating:

“From now on we need to know that Irene is what nature is capable of producing for us. You know better than anyone else in the state the true cost—in lives and in hopes, yes, but also in deferred plans, busted budgets, foregone opportunities. God forbid the next one comes before we finish paying off this one. “

His message was sobering. It was also hopeful.

He cited many things the state and Vermonters can do to combat climate change and build a more resilient, clean energy economy, including:

  • Making aggressive investments in conservation and energy efficiency.
  • Transforming our transportation network to promote renewably powered electric fleets and investing in public transit.
  • Keeping our communities compact and protecting farm and forestland from sprawl.
  • Maintaining our commitment to renewable energy and shelving any plan to place a moratorium on wind and, instead, figure out how to do wind right in Vermont.
  • Stopping the transport of tar sands oil across Vermont for export.

Click here to read the transcript of his talk.

Click here to watch the full presentation.

Read a follow-up letter Bill McKibben wrote to legislators, urging them to act swiftly on one of our most important climate actions this year — stopping heating the outdoors and save Vermonters dramatically on their heating bills.

Urgent action is needed to stem the tide of the climate change crisis and turn this challenge into opportunity. Please contact your legislators and ask them to support actions this year and beyond to invest in heating efficiency, renewable energy, transportation solutions and more. Find the contact information for your legislators and reach out to them today!