Watch Bill McKibben’s Commencement Address


Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 10:40AM

Bill McKibben, renowned climate change activist and author, was the 2012 Commencement Speaker for Claremont School of Theology.

Bill McKibben, renowned climate change activist and author, was the 2012 Commencement Speaker for Claremont School of Theology.


"We could not have found a better speaker for the academic year in which CST co-founded Claremont Lincoln University," said Dean Philip Clayton. "McKibben is one of the most inspiring and successful activists in the U.S., and he has built a network that includes most countries and most religions of the world. At the same time, he is a committed United Methodist whose faith serves as an deep inspiration for his work."

McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. His latest book is Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, in which he spells Earth with two a’s to emphasize the different planet it will become as a result of global warming.

As he has pointed out, "There are no grounds for optimism in this fight against the weather. So far we've only increased the temperature of the planet about a degree, and that's been enough to set the Arctic to melting, turn the ocean 30% more acidic and make the atmosphere about 4% wetter, loading the dice for floods. Climatologists predict that unless we kick oil, gas and coal habits very, very fast, the increase in temperature will be 4 or 5 degrees before the century is out. If one degree does the damage we're seeing at the moment, we'd be fools to find out what 4 degrees will look like."

McKibben is currently the lead environmentalist fighting against the proposed Canadian-U.S. Keystone XL pipeline project. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him "the planet's best green journalist" and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was "probably the country's most important environmentalist."

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, McKibben is a Harvard graduate and holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a Lyndhurst Fellowship, and is a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


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