Bill McKibben “Does the Math” in Mead Chapel
Bill McKibben brought his gentle charisma to Mead Chapel tonight on the final stop of his “Do the Math” tour to divest from fossil fuel companies. For McKibben, a Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Middlebury College and resident of Ripton, Vt., this concluding talk was especially meaningful. On multiple occasions he called on Middlebury to take the lead on the divestment campaign.
In addition to McKibben, Midd alums and co-founders of 350.org May Boeve ’06.5 and Phil Aroneanu ’07, Professor of Economics and Chair of the Environmental Science Department Jon Isham, Professor Emeritus John Elder and investor Tom Star spoke and videos were streamed from environmental and world leaders like Desmond Tutu and Naomi Klein–some specifically made for the Middlebury community.
The evening started with music from Middlebury indie band Alpenglow. Afterward, Isham gave a small speech and introduced McKibben. McKibben led the rest of the night along side power point slides, but intermittently paused for videos and speakers like Elder and Star.
The following is the crux of his message, pulled from the “Do the Math” website:
It’s simple math: we can burn less than 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.
For more information about these figures, it’s worth reading the article he published this past summer in Rolling Stone that initiated the “Do the Math Tour.”He ended the evening saying, “We will do what needs to happen … Middlebury will show the rest of the country and the rest of the world a path forward from a very difficult place.”
For more details on the talk, check out the Campus’s liveblog of the event.