Bill McKibben: The Planet's Future Depends On Distributed Systems

One of the best ways to address climate change
Sunday, July 5, 2015, 2:03 PM

To environmental activist Bill McKibben, it's all about math. The planet has warmed 1 degree Celsius over the past few decades and is on track to rise another 4 to 5 before the end of the century. An increase of this magnitude is simply too much for the ecosystems we depend on to adapt to that quickly. » Read more


Bill McKibben

Bill  McKibben

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty  thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.


This chapter of the new Crash Course series has not yet been made available to the public.

Each week over the rest of 2014, in sequential order, a new chapter will be made publicly available (we've currently published up to Chapter 21)

If you don't want to wait, you can:


Returning to the 'Real'

The virtual is not an adequate substitute for the authentic
Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 10:34 AM

A paradox of life in these times is the inverse relationship between technological wizardry and the satisfactions of being a live organism in a real place (i.e., on the planet Earth).  It probably boils down to a proposition that the American public is not ready to entertain: that the virtual is not an adequate substitute for the authentic. Eventually it will be a hard lesson to learn. » Read more

Daily Digest

Image by wharman, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 5/30 - Wine Country Faces Fiscal Crisis, Drought Emaciates Cattle In NM

Thursday, May 30, 2013, 9:49 AM
  • Back to Basics – Gold, Silver, and the Economy
  • "Major Shocks Will Become The Norm From Now On"
  • US targets digital currency in huge fraud probe
  • OECD: Europe's Recession Threatens Entire Global Economy
  • ‘A disaster in slow motion’: Wine country latest California region to face fiscal crisis
  • How Islamist militancy threatens Africa
  • China's dead pig scandal ushers in hard times for fishermen and hog farmers
  • Portland, Maine Doctor Forgoes Insurance To Provide Affordable Care To Community
  • GMO lose Europe – victory for environmental organisations
  • Weather disasters increasing, insurance industry warns
  • GM salmon can breed with wild fish and pass on genes
  • Oops: Europe’s green mandates have resulted in more imported coal and wood consumption
  • Harper government nixed reviews for some oil sands projects following warnings of water disruption
  • Corn Growers Turn to Pesticides After Genetically Modified Seeds Fail
  • In China, 'cancer villages' a reality of life
  • Officials: NM ranch had 1,000 emaciated cattle
Daily Digest

Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 5/2 - Running Out Of Planet To Exploit, What If We Never Run Out of Oil?

Thursday, May 2, 2013, 10:56 AM
  • Federal Reserve Refuses to Submit to an Audit of Germany’s Gold Held in U.S. Vaults
  • Neil Macdonald: The secretive world of printing money
  • The Unofficial Inflation Rate
  • Lasers, microwave deployed in high-speed trading arms race
  • IRS Data Web Snares Mostly Low- and Middle-Income Taxpayers
  • Fed holds steady on stimulus, worried by fiscal drag
  • The Fed's QE Exit Will More Than Quadruple Interest Costs For The US
  • What Is YOUR Inflation Rate? 
  • Smart cites: Sustainable solutions for urban living
  • Muzzling Science: How Tories Control The Message
  • The future of business: what are the alternatives to capitalism?
  • A City That Turns Garbage Into Energy Copes With a Shortage
  • What If We Never Run Out of Oil?
  • Running Out of Planet to Exploit
  • Flow of Tainted Water Is Latest Crisis at Japan Nuclear Plant
  • GM joins call for US action on climate change
Daily Digest

Image by DonkeyHotey, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 4/22 - In Love With My Planet, 12 (Misguided) Commandments of Gold Bugs

Monday, April 22, 2013, 11:57 AM
  • Where Are The Regulators After The Historic Gold & Silver Price Drop?
  • 12 (Misguided) Commandments of Gold Bugs: Barry Ritholtz
  • Travel Surveillance, Traveler Intrusion
  • Tata Faces Crisis as $20 Billion Spent on Water: Corporate India
  • In Love With My Planet
  • Bees “restored to health” in Italy after this spring’s neonicotinoid-free maize sowing
  • Researchers Develop a Self-Filling Water Bottle that Harvests Water from the Air
  • Antarctic Methane Could Escape, Worsen Warming
Daily Digest

Image by motoyen, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 3/21 - Detroit City Council 'Still Relevant,' Argentines Go For Gold

Thursday, March 21, 2013, 10:28 AM
  • AstraZeneca slashing 1,200 jobs in Delaware
  • Bankrupt San Bernardino approves over $1 mln in pay hikes
  • Detroit council: We're still relevant
  • Argentines go for gold. Literally.
  • Ficano wants retired deputy to drive and guard him, wash his car
  • Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts - New Zealand Goes Cyprus-Style, RBNZ Responds
  • Nearly 150 years after conflict ended, U.S. government still making payments to children of Civil War vets
  • In Spain, The Bitcoin Run Has Started
  • Canadian man to sell house for Bitcoin virtual currency
  • CIA's Gus Hunt On Big Data: We 'Try To Collect Everything And Hang On To It Forever'
  • Tories aim to divide, conquer with envoy who will canvas First Nations on energy projects
  • German scientists quit oil sands research over public climate concerns
  • Doctors call for ban of antibiotic use in farm animals as drug-resistant human infections hit ‘dangerous level
  • ‘We, as a nation, have to wake up’: First Nations leaders vow to do what it takes to block oil pipelines
  • Wave of prawn deaths baffles Chile city of Coronel
  • Eating locusts: The crunchy, kosher snack taking Israel by swarm

The New Future of Energy Policy

The rise of the powergrid (and new taxes)
Monday, November 26, 2012, 2:32 PM

Flood myths are common to human culture. Swollen rivers, tidal storms, and tsunamis make their appearance frequently in literature. But Hurricane Sandy, which has drawn newly etched high-water marks on the buildings of lower Manhattan (and Brooklyn), has shifted the discussion from storytelling to reality.

Volatility in climate has drawn the attention of policy makers for a decade. But as so often is the case, a dramatic event like superstorm Sandy – the largest storm to hit New York since the colonial era – has punctured the psyche of the densely populated East Coast, including the New York-Washington, DC axis where U.S. policy is made.

Not surprisingly, in the weeks since the historical hurricane made landfall, new attention is being paid to the mounting costs that coastal world megacities may face.

Intriguingly, however, this new conversation about climate, energy policy, and America’s reliance on fossil fuels comes after a five-year period in which the U.S. has dramatically lowered its consumption of oil and seen an equally dramatic upturn in the growth of renewable energy. » Read more