From an article by Nathan Vine in the Stevens Point Journal:
CUSTER — Bill McKibben said he considered himself fortunate to be at the 21st annual Midwest Renewable Energy Fair.
Being in a Midwestern atmosphere that he characterized as “very clear, practical and ready to get things done,” McKibben said it was a great backdrop for the theme of his keynote address at the fair Saturday.
McKibben, an internationally known environmentalist and founder of the 350.org campaign, said those who seek to fight the planet’s climate problems face a difficult task.
“We’re losing, and losing pretty badly to do what we need to make this planet work,” McKibben said. “If we are going to win, it’s going to take an enormous amount of that practical spirit.”
In between being honored by a pair of standing ovations, and the announcement that the MREA had planted a tree in his honor next to others planted for founding members of the event and past speakers at the event, McKibben focused on the work that still needs to be done.
He pointed out that despite the obvious effects of too much carbon in the atmosphere — which now stands at 392 parts per million, and which he hopes to reduce to 350 — from the increase of global temperature to the pollutive effect on the oceans, political forces and the fossil fuel industry have successfully kept substantive change from being made.
“The only way we are going to have the kind of change we need is to radically increase the cost of fossil fuels,” McKibben said. “To do that, we need to be engaging in the political battle that we haven’t been able to.”
McKibben has tried to rally support to that battle through his work with 350.org. In 2009, he and his team coordinated some 5,200 events in 181 countries in one day to bring awareness to the problem of carbon. This year on Oct. 10, they are planning a global work party, where people can take on environmentally friendly projects.