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Bill McKibben Talks Climate Change and Religion

2013/05/11

On Sunday, April 28th, 2013, activist Bill McKibben was a guest preacher at his former church, the Riverside Church in NYC.  During his sermon, McKibben made connections between religious values and climate change, corporate greed and the divestment of fossil fuel stock.  Although I am not a religious person myself, I felt the sermon was excellent.  Please take a look.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. 2013/05/11 9:24 am

    I felt this sermon by Bill McKibben wasn’t just excellent, I got this special feeling while watching and listening to it that I was witnessing something here which will go into history and which will still be talked about many years from now. It is really excellent – and well said.

    Regardless of which religion you belong to, this is something you should sit down and watch. It will takes around 15 minutes, if you skip the first 5:30 minutes, where he is just giving comments to the particular church about how glad he is to be back, etc.

    “Exxon made more money last year than any company in the history of money,” said McKibben – and I got curious and looked up how Exxon is listed at Forbes’ website, a magazine for the world’s business leaders, which just announced 2013’s Fortune 500.

    And yep, according to Forbes, the American Exxon Mobil with almost 77,000 employees is the most profitable company in the world, making 44.9 billion US dollars profits last year. The Russian oil and gas company Gazprom made 40.6 billion US dollars, while Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron each produced over 25 billion US dollars for their shareholders.

    Three Big Oil companies are in the Top Five for highest revenues. Four of them are on the Top 10 of the world’s most profitable companies. On Forbes list of the world’s 2000 leading companies, seven of those who made it to the lists’ Top 20 are oil and gas companies. Together, these seven companies alone made profits of 175 billion US dollars last year.
    (http://www.forbes.com/global2000 )

    To quote the mission statement of the Fossil Free movement, which McKibben also mentions in his sermon: “If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage.”

    I believe Bill McKibben is touching on the right nerve here and he is showing himself as the kind of leader our planet is so badly in need of at the moment.

    “Rich people feel immune to these problems,” McKibben says – and he touches on something very fundamental there. The fossil fuel industry is richer and more powerful than even our democratically elected politicians. If we want to see a fast transition towards an existence without fossil fuels, we really need to understand which powers we are up against.

    Bill McKibben is a former journalist for the New Yorker and author of ‘The End of Nature’, published in 1989 and widely regarded as the first book on climate change for a general audience. Together with seven undergraduate college students he co-founded 350.org which today counts thousands of volunteer organisers in 188 countries who are doing what they can to mobilise a global movement for action against climate change.

    I strongly support that movement. We need ‘wartime mobilisation’ in a peaceful manner – and it begins with something very simple: taking a stand. As long as the majority of people are passive, and don’t want to take a stand, we are going to fail, if we think we can change anything in the Fossil Fuel Empire.

    “It is time to take responsibility,” says Bill McKibben in this ‘Time Capsule’ video clip, recorded in 2007, where he was asked: “What would you like to say to people living 100 years from now?”

    • 2013/05/17 5:03 am

      Thank you for your comment Mik. I completely agree. When watching the video, I was particularly impressed with the quote you highlighted: “If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage.”

      • Thelma permalink
        2013/07/29 4:31 pm

        Hi JP, I can’t figure out how to contact you to ask you to post the below links – can you post them appropriately? AND, thanks for what you do – the communication/information forum you provide is SO important!

        Here is an excellent article by an SFU/CD Howe economist turned activist. It is refreshing:

        http://thewalrus.ca/the-accidental-activist/

        Mark Jaccard also has a compact blog … the monthly short articles present new insights/perspectives (for me):

        http://markjaccard.blogspot.ca/

      • 2013/07/29 6:15 pm

        There you go!

        Thanks for sharing.

  2. 2013/05/14 1:00 pm

    He’s such a fearless, indefatigable climate warrior. Thanks for posting this!

    • 2013/05/17 5:03 am

      You are quite welcome :)

    • 2014/04/23 1:37 pm

      A belated ^^^ what Christine said.

      PS hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

      • 2014/04/24 6:29 am

        Hello pendantry. I am very well, although quite busy! I keep wanting to get back into writing on the blog, but my masters degree work is taking up too much time. I’ve just completed my last course which means I can begin work on my actual thesis. Figure I’ll be done in about a year…
        Cheers!

      • 2014/04/24 4:04 pm

        Glad to hear you’re well. Let me know if you need an extra pair of eyes to proof-read the thesis. Good luck with it!

      • 2014/04/24 4:33 pm

        Thanks! And thanks for the offer. Although I should be ok – I’ve got three supervisors to help me with that :)

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