Bill McKibben

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Bill McKibben is an American environmentalist and writer who co-founded In 2013, he was awarded the Sophie Prize for his mobilizing efforts in the fight against global warming.[1][2]


McKibben "frequently writes about global warming, alternative energy, and the risks associated with human genetic engineering. Beginning in the summer of 2006, he led the organization of the largest demonstrations against global warming in American history. McKibben is active in the Methodist Church, and his writing sometimes has a spiritual bent.

"Bill grew up in suburban Lexington, Massachusetts. He was president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper in college. Immediately after college he joined the New Yorker magazine as a staff writer, and wrote much of the "Talk of the Town" column from 1982 to early 1987. He quit the magazine when its longtime editor William Shawn was forced out of his job, and soon moved to the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

"His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Several editions have come out in the United States, including an updated version published in 2006...

"His most recent book, Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, was published in March 2007. It addresses what the author sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise...

"Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.

"Bill has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College.

"Bill currently resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and his daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1993, in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College." [3]


Published Work and Current Efforts



MicKibben is the United States' top environmentalist and one of the world's leading campaigners on the climate change crisis.[16]

Resistance to the Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline

McKibben has been an active voice against the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.[16] As he stated in an interview with CMD, "The pipeline runs through sensitive territory and requires people to give up farms and ranches. The good people in Texas right now are fighting hard to block construction of the southern leg that would run through their homes and farms."[16] McKibben also warns of the dangers from burning the tar sands in Canada, which is the second largest pool of carbon on earth.[16] According the James Hansen of NASA, it would lead to extraordinary levels of carbon dioxide resulting in disintegration of the ice sheets, rising sea levels, intolerable global temperatures, and the extinction of twenty to 50 percent of the planet's species.[17]

Against Hydraulic Fracturing

McKibben has also spoken out against hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." In an interview with CMD, McKibben explained that this issue was an environmental priority.

"Fracking is really important because it's this discovery of a new wave of carbon-based energy forms at a time when we already have far more than scientists say we can safely burn. Knowing that, it makes no sense to go out and rip apart the countryside looking for more. Natural gas is a great danger because of the methane leaks in the course of producing it. That methane is 23 times more greenhouse gas intensive, molecule per molecule, than even the carbon dioxide that we worry about so much. Burning this cheap natural gas seems to displace lots of renewable energy, even more than it replaces coal. The net effect seems to be, if anything, it makes climate change worse off than it was before."[16]

Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

Through his work with, McKibben campaigns to convince universities and municipalities to "divest" from fossil fuels.[18] McKibben asks "ethical investors to freeze new investments in fossil fuel companies and divest from direct ownership or commingled funds, which include public equities and corporate bonds."[18] The top 500 colleges and universities alone hold endowments worth an estimated $400 billion.[18]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. "Bill McKibben's Sophie Prize Win For Climate Change Activism Awards Him $100,000", Huffington Post, May 28, 2013
  2. The Sophie Prize, "The Sophie Prize 2013", organizational website, accessed May 2013
  3. Bio, Bill McKibben, accessed January 7, 2008.
  4. 1Sky Board, organizational web page, accessed April 5, 2012.
  5. Climate Emergency Fund About, organizational web page, accessed October 10, 2019.
  6. Green Institute Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed August 15, 2017.
  7. Mesa Refuge About, organizational web page, accessed June 1, 2013.
  8. Advisors, New Economics Institute, accessed December 12, 2011.
  9. Orion Magazine Advisors, organizational web page, accessed April 25, 2012.
  10. Center for Whole Communities Faculty, organizational web page, accessed April 20, 2012.
  11. Alliance for Wild Ethics Members, organizational web page, accessed May 25, 2012.
  12. SumOfUs Who we are, organizational web page, accessed August 27, 2012.
  13. Solutions Journal Editorial Board, organizational web page, accessed June 18, 2013.
  14. Earth Day Network Global Advisory Committee, organizational web page, accessed December 21, 2013.
  15. Bill McKibben, Editorial and Op-Eds, accessed April 3, 2013.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Sara Jerving, "Environmentalist Bill McKibben on Keeping a Strong Focus on Climate Change", PRWatch, September 13, 2012
  17. James Hansen, "Game Over for the Climate", New York Times, May 9, 2012
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Harriet Rowan, "Madison Joins 'Fossil Free' Movement", PRWatch, April 26, 2013