Life on Eaarth

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental organizations Step It Up and, was one of the first to start issuing warnings about global warming. He discusses why he believes we’ve waited too long to act, and what we can do to adapt to climate change already under way. His book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet is a call to action to change our way of life in order to survive on this new, changed planet.

Event: Bill McKibben will be speaking, reading, and signing books
Tuesday, April 13, at 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble, Upper West Side
2289 Broadway, at 82nd Street


Bill McKibben

Comments [16]

Karen from South Harlem

addendum to my other comment:

I am all for harvesting energy from wind but let's do it where the people live, like in cities and suburbs. Obviously, ginormous turbines aren't suited to deployment in cities. So let's use some other tech to harvest wind in highly-populated areas.

Leonard, I wish you'd have a segment about the industrial wind turbine wars -- the prospects for harvesting wind energy in densely populated areas using tech that we never hear about -- the prospects for "microgrids" in urban areas, which I think is beginning to attract business and press attention.

Apr. 13 2010 12:42 PM
john from office

This guest is very articulate, but a dreamer. India, Brazil etc will not give up on growth. His ideas are those of a white intellectual class, look at greenpeace. I got mine, now don't get yours! We want to study you.

Apr. 13 2010 12:40 PM
Phil Henshaw from ny ny

Bill, It's great to finally hear someone else point to the need for growth systems to switch to maturing as they reach their limits. I've been writing about the basic physics of natural system maturation for decades, actually. We should work together.

There are features of the natural process of how systems mature that our culture is still completely unaware of, and needs to develop an understanding of in order to see what our real choices. The main one is that maturing systems in nature switch the surplus generated by a system from multiplying the parts to adapting them to their new environment. That's what organisms do, and we need to invent our version of it. It's a wonderful exploration once you get going.

best, Phil

Apr. 13 2010 12:40 PM
A Listener

I often look out over the city and wonder what possible good my little bit of composting and conserving and recycling can possibly do.

Apr. 13 2010 12:38 PM
ken from brooklyn

Can you ask Mr McKibben about how population growth is going to need to be addressed to attain sustainability? (His book Maybe Just One talked about this.)

Apr. 13 2010 12:34 PM
Gary from UWS

Oh Billy, you and the other Obama worshipers will be so, so disappointed when you discover the emperor has no clothes.

Apr. 13 2010 12:31 PM
Karen from South Harlem

I am concerned about the inefficiency and (I think) the soon-to-be-obsolesence of industrial wind. I wish each turbine had to have its own "trust fund" to ensure that it would be upgraded or FULLY dismantled when it becomes obsolete. Otherwise we'll have all these huge non-working turbines hulking in our otherwise-beautiful windy rural vistas.

Apr. 13 2010 12:27 PM
JP from NJ

More farms added then in the 150 years? Reality check please. Please ask where are you going to put the farms to feed cities like Las Vegas? Also please ask if at the turn of the century 50% of the population worked in AG when the country was half the size it is now and only 3% of the population works in AG now, how can even come close to realistically making up that huge gap, especially when the current minimum AG wage is far lower then the national minimum wage? How can 50% of the population live on such low wages today?

Apr. 13 2010 12:25 PM
listener from Brooklyn NY

Did Mr. Lopate have Tim Jackson on (author of Prosperity Without Growth).

I'm also reminded of the interview with John Wargo and his book, Green Intelligence.

Even many liberal economists, like Paul Krugman, take it as a given that growth is key to solving many of our problems.

Apr. 13 2010 12:18 PM
Frank Campi from Rockaway, NJ

The oceans were the driving force when the CO2 was high in the eons past. Overfishing and other factors have changed he nature of the oceans to heal the planet this time. Can the oceans be seeded with the nutrients that were removed so that the algae and the oceans can do their job again?

Apr. 13 2010 12:17 PM
Estelle from Austin

Could Mr. McKibben address how population growth affects global warming? Should we be addressing that as a partial remedy?

Apr. 13 2010 12:17 PM
Smokey from LES

Thorium? Is that an answer for electricity?

Apr. 13 2010 12:16 PM
Charlie from Bensonhurst

Smog or Smug? This man needs some humility, otherwise he is singing only to the choir.

Apr. 13 2010 12:16 PM
GW from Manhatan

The biomass of the earth was, is and always will be producing megatons of organic matter. The "snow" of organic matter that continually filters onto the floor of the seabed, the deposits of countless lives micro and macroscopic. What would happen if Earth did not produce humans to gradually release these huge deposits over time? Would seas of oil and natural gas ignite or belch up to the surface on their own and cause ecological havoc? This is no excuse to be wanton in the use of fossil fuels. BUt its there and it will continue to accumulate, and perhaps be the source of an ecological disaster itself if there is no way to deal with it. Perhaps our evolution in energy usage (and I emphasize that alternative energy is part of that evolution) is part of the Earth's greater plan to "recycle" hydrocarbons and preserve life.

Apr. 13 2010 12:16 PM
listener from Brooklyn NY

Getting smaller: The key thing about an animal getting smaller is that the ratio of surface area to volume increases. There's more surface area per unit volume and thus more area to radiate heat away. (Which is also why smaller animals have to eat proportionately more.)

Apr. 13 2010 12:14 PM
Rick from Manhattan

Can you ask Bill what the science is on how human intervention will change global climate?
As he states the science on global warming is solid -but what science is there to show that human changes in behavior will make any changes in the global warming that scientists are seeing now?

Apr. 13 2010 12:11 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.