Quantcast
Politics

Bill McKibben: The Real Work Begins Nov. 9

The Democratic and Republican conventions are history and the epochal 2016 election is now before us. My general theory is less talk and more action, so I hope you'll join me in taking this climate pledge, one that will power our efforts into the fall.

People's Climate March in New York City, Sept. 21, 2014.

But since I've got the microphone, maybe I'll say a few more words.

One is, Trump is truly bad news. His insistence that global warming is a Chinese manufactured hoax and his declaration that he will abrogate the Paris treaty mean that he's as much a nihilist on climate change as he is on anything else. In fact, no major party candidate since the start of the global warming era has been as bad on this issue, not even close. He's also terrifying for many other obvious reasons.

Second is, it was a little hard for me to watch Bernie's bittersweet speech to the Democratic convention. He's my Vermont neighbor (where 350.org was born) and he was my candidate and he talked about climate change as no presidential candidate ever has before, declaring forthrightly that it was the greatest problem the planet faced. I wish he'd won.

But his powerful showing meant, among other things, that he had a significant hand in writing the Democratic party platform for 2016. (In fact, he named me as one of 15 platform writers. Did I say we were neighbors?) And though it's far from perfect it is by far the strongest party platform on climate issues Americans have ever seen.

This is my third thought. In four years we've gone from an "all of the above" energy strategy to one that explicitly favors sun and wind over natural gas. The platform promises a Keystone-style test for all federal policy: If it makes global warming worse, it won't be built. And it calls for an emergency climate summit in the first hundred days of the new administration. All those changes are the direct result of your work, showing up to demand action over many months and years.

Thursday night Hillary Clinton pledged to enact that platform and she said "we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves."

"Accountability" is the right word. Will this platform mean anything more than words? That actually depends on you. If we vote as climate voters this fall—and if we then show up to demand that those promises are kept—this could turn out to be a ground-breaking political season. That's why we need you signed on to this pledge and lined up to get out the vote and do the other chores of an election.

But remember: election day is just one day in the political calendar. The other 364 count just as much.

Our job is not to elect a savior. Our job is to elect someone we can effectively pressure. And as tough as the work of this election will be—the real work starts on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

That's how it seems to me, anyway. There's plenty to be scared of this election season and plenty to hope for. And most of all there's plenty of work to be done.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Thomas Barwick / DigitalVision / Getty Images

10 Tips for Hosting a Wonderful and Waste-Free Holiday

By Clara Chaisson

For many, the holiday season is a time of plenty. But with all the feasting, the decorations and the gift swapping, it can be easy to go overboard. And for hosts, especially, there's a lot of pressure to make sure guests feel adequately stuffed and the house looks sufficiently bedecked.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Taylor Energy spill seen from space in 2017. SkyTruth

Clean Up 14-Year Oil Spill or Face $40K Daily Fine, Feds Tell Taylor Energy

The U.S. Coast Guard has ordered Taylor Energy Co. to clean and contain a 14-year chronic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or face a fine of $40,000 a day.

Environmentalists had warned about the unrelenting leak for years after the Gulf Restoration Network and the watchdog group SkyTruth discovered oil slicks via satellite imagery while investigating the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Amitabh Bachchan TeachAids / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Indian Cinema Legend Clears Debts of 1,398 Farmers

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan said he has "taken care" of 1,398 farmers by wiping out more than $560,000 (40m rupees) of their debt, BBC News reported.

"Gratitude leans across to the desire of removing some of the burdens that farmers continue to suffer from ... and the inner peace it generates when the desired is completed," the 76-year-old Indian film legend wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A Chinese sturgeon, one of a handful on display, is seen at the Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium in Hong Kong. Shankar S. / Flickr

After 140 Million Years, Chinese Sturgeons May Soon Be Extinct

By Jason Bittel

More than 16 feet long and weighing up to 1,100 pounds, Chinese sturgeons are among the world's largest freshwater fish. They're big and they're ancient. According to fossil records, they've been swimming China's Yangtze, Qiantang, Minjiang and Pearl Rivers since the time of the dinosaurs.

And now they're on the brink of oblivion, having disappeared from all of their former range except for small portions of the Yangtze.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Dewayne Johnson, the first man to bring Monsanto to trial over Roundup and win, now faces an appeal. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

A Roundup Trial Roundup

Tuesday was a big news day for the growing legal movement to hold Monsanto accountable for selling a widely-used weed killer that plaintiffs say gave them or their loved ones cancer.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
"Nature's heterogeneity and biodiversity are at the epicenter of my thankfulness and happiness. Here, deep within a saline wetland, morning light shines through the dew covered understory revealing an orb-weaver's web." Dakota Altman

'Everything Is Interconnected': Photo of Radiant Spider Web Wins EcoWatch Contest

EcoWatch is excited to announced the winner of our first-ever Gratitude Photo Contest. Participants sent us their best shots of what in nature they were most thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Our three amazing judges—Greenpoint Innovations founder Stephen Donofrio, marine scientist Gaelin Rosenwaks and documentary photographer Marc Bryan-Brown—picked their favorites from more than 70 photo entries of breathtaking landscapes, incredible wildlife and majestic waterways.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Health agencies say avoid romaine lettuce as they investigate an E. coli outbreak. Agricultural Resources Service / USDA

E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce

If you're hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow, be sure to leave romaine lettuce off the menu! The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning everyone to avoid the classic salad green until investigators can pinpoint the exact source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 32 people in 11 states.

The FDA advised Americans to stop eating romaine and to toss any that's left in the fridge. Restaurants and retailers should also stop serving it until more is known.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Map of damage to the town of Paradise from the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history. NASA / JPL-Caltech

Heavy Rain Could Trigger Mudslides in Fire-Weary California

Northern California, which is already reeling from the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, is now bracing for heavy rainfall this week.

The forecasted rain could bring much-needed relief for the firefighters battling the Camp Fire in Butte County. However, it could also bring new hazards due to possible ash, mud and debris flows triggered by the rain.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!