Bill McKibben and moral leadership: Do the Maths tour, Melbourne

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Bill’s talk in Melbourne

“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice” – Martin Luther King

Bill McKibben is a dangerous man.

At least to those wanting to stall action on climate change and deny the reality of a warming planet. He is dangerous to those who wish to extract every last drop of oil and piece of fossilized carbon in the ground.

He is dangerous to those who would trash the planet, and deny future generations the right to inherit a habitable Earth.

He is dangerous because what he says not only makes sense, but is powerfully articulated.

He is dangerous to vested interests because he is bringing organisation to the fractured and disparate environment movement.

And because Bill McKibben is so dangerous to the deniers, the fossil fuel industry and Murdoch’s media empire we should do everything we can to help Bill and 350.org.

It is almost impossible to capture my feeling about his talk last night, but Bill McKibben demonstrated something critically lacking within Australian politics.

Moral leadership.

McKibben does not aspire to lead, but to inspire others and bring out the best within us.

Stepping onto the stage, you could see how tired he is. And yet when he spoke he was animated, passionate and at times incredibly witty. This was no fire-and-brimstone speech: Bill spoke quietly, respectfully and with humility.

Great quotes:

  • “This is the most important challenge humanity has faced in its history”
  • “They are reversing Genesis’ [The fossil fuel industry]
  • “I can’t promise you victory, but we can fight”
  • “There are times when one has to put one’s body on the line” [speaking about being arrested in conducting peaceful acts of civil disobedience]
  • “We’re not the radicals – we want  a livable planet, which makes us the conservatives. We’re not the radicals changing the chemistry of the atmosphere” [paraphrased]

I believe I witnessed something incredible last night. The coming into being of a transnational social justice movement.

Bill McKibben is a dangerous man.

Thank god for that.

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Watch this:

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6 thoughts on “Bill McKibben and moral leadership: Do the Maths tour, Melbourne

  1. john byatt says:

    –by Horatio Algeranon

    Science isn’t settled

    Buildings do not stand

    Bridges fall into the gorge

    Collapse like so much sand

    Rockets never reach the moon

    And atoms are illusion

    The human source of CO2

    Is simply a delusion

    The polar ice ain’t melting

    And species aren’t hurtin’

    Uncertainty is certainly

    The only thing that’s certain.

  2. […] 2013/06/08: WtD: Bill McKibben and moral leadership: Do the Maths tour, Melbourne […]

  3. Blair Palese says:

    Just a belated comment to say THANKS – it was a good bit of work to get the Bill tour happening in Australia on the usual smell of an oily rag but it was well worth it! And here’s to keeping that discussion and action going as we head into the fight against more coal plants here in Autralia. Much to do but we hope to undertake it with a sense of how important the fight is here in Australia – the coal face, as it were. Your story is very much appreciated! – Blair Palese, 350.org Aust

  4. carolburbank says:

    Reblogged this on Lead Me On and commented:
    Here’s a good blog about Bill McKibben’s ongoing activism against the environmental devastation of climate change, through his writings and the organization 350.
    McKibben does not aspire to lead, but to inspire others and bring out the best within us.
    Great quotes cited by the blogger:

    “This is the most important challenge humanity has faced in its history”
    “They are reversing Genesis’ [The fossil fuel industry]
    “I can’t promise you victory, but we can fight”
    “There are times when one has to put one’s body on the line” [speaking about being arrested in conducting peaceful acts of civil disobedience]
    “We’re not the radicals – we want a livable planet, which makes us the conservatives. We’re not the radicals changing the chemistry of the atmosphere” [paraphrased]

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