Bill McKibben’s book oil and honey is the documented struggle of the environmental efforts against the oil industry and the role honey bees play in our everyday life. The book offers unique perspectives from Bill Mckibben , environmental rock star and good friend Kirk Webster, the beekeeper.Bill Mckibben is an environmental rocks star because of his role in environmentalism. Bill Mckibben is the founder of 350.Org. This is his most well known environmental with his books like EAARTH and Deep Economy.
This will be longer letter than common for the internet age -it’s more serious stuff.
The Short Version is we want you to consider doing something hard: coming to Washington in the hottest and stickiest weeks of the summer and engaging in civil disobedience that will quite possibly get you arrested.
This is the shortened version on the full email on pg.17.This is important because he lays out the plan of what he wants and the possible repercussions this could have.Now anyone who wishes to get involved with the movement knows what to expect.“It’s a quiet revolution begun by ordinary people with the stuff of our daily lives ” – Bill Mckibben, this is important because he is acknowledging that anyone can start a movement. You or I could do the same thing. Yes, it helps that he is Bill Mckibben, but that the beauty of the grass roots movement.
After the rally in Washington, DC, 1253,people got arrested. This speaks to the type of leader Bill Mckibben is. He was able to persuade people to come protest in the nations capital knowing they were going to get arrested. I personally don’t know that I could part take in a movement like this, I know I’m not financially stable at this point in my life. I could not risk something that would potentially prevent me from finding a job after college. An Author like Bill Mckibben really doesn’t have to worry about this to much.
It is important to point out that this was a civil disobedience movement. All the protesters were part taking in a non-violent peaceful protest. This is the standard for all civil disobedience movements. I think it really speaks to the power of the protest. They were able to get their point across in a non-violent manner. it’s a movement that I think Gandhi would be proud of.
Bill Mckibben and protesters finally got the attention they were looking for. After several days of protesting they had their first arrests .Bill was arrested along with the first wave of protesters. Unfortunately, the trip to jail didn’t go to plan at all. when they arrived the situation was more serious then expected. The police wanted to make an example out of the first wave of protesters. Bill Mckibben and company was forced to spend several days in jail as apposed to several hours. I find it interesting that when asked if they could speaks to their lawyers they were told ” Not on the weekend” by one of the guards. This seems like a violation of constitutional rights. In fairness maybe lawyers don’t work on the weekend. I have a feeling the guards may have wanted to make an example of the first wave of protesters they arrested.
Their protest in Washington was a large success,it was part of many protests across the country. The more protests like this happen the more aware people become of environmental issues. It is websites like 350.org that help people become educated about important environmental issues. The 350 in 350.org is reference to what science considers a safe level of CO2 in the environmental in parts per million. We currently sit at 400 ppm with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. That is why it was so important to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline proposed by the company TransCanada.
The pipeline was set to go from Canada, through the U.S. and into the Gulf of Mexico. Thankfully it was rejected. This was a big win for environmentalists. One that gave Bill Mckibben and other environmentalists , like myself hope. At the end of the day that is the best you can do sometimes. You have to remain optimistic that the American people and the whole world and realize the mistakes we have made in the past. Hopefully we can avoid them in the future. The lessons we learned in the Keystone Pipeline can be applied to the North East Energy Direct natural gas pipeline. Although not mentioned in the book, I think it’s important to mention. The natural gas pipeline proposed by the Kinder-Morgan Company stretches from Pennsylvanian to Massachusetts, some 420 miles.
Unfortunately, the natural gas pipeline doesn’t offer many benefits to the people of New England. The only state that really benefits is Pennsylvania, who already had a natural gas compressor station. It would be paid for in part by a tariff applied to electric bills of people in New England. Not to mention the environmental catastrophe if the pipeline leaked. The same could be said for the Keystone Pipeline but on a larger scale. I understand that they have to get the oil to these places some how. I’m not convinced the best method is through a pipeline.
In the future I would like to see the United States as well as the rest of the world divest in fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy. Hydroelectric and solar energy are two forms of renewable energy that the U.S. could invest. This would also give a boost to our economy by creating new jobs in the green jobs sector. Who doesn’t like that ? As an environmental studies major it would definitely be beneficial to someone like me.
The other part of the book is focused around Kirk Webster and his honey bees. Bees play an important role in the environment. They are responsible for pollinating 1/3rd of the world’s food supply. Without them the human species couldn’t exist for very long. Part of the problem is industrial agriculture. As the population continues to grow it becomes harder for small farmers like Kirk to make it. Industrial agriculture and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) have helped to drive don the price of food in this country . ” I think about the few farmers i know of who have been successful over long period of time : The Amish, the French market gardeners out side Paris. Both decided they had to remain separate from society”. Is this the fate small farmers like Kirk have to resort to if they are going to make it? Why can’t the government see the benefit of small farmers ?
Bees play a large role in pollinating our food supply. Our widespread use of pesticides have greatly decreased the bee population worldwide. In 2006, beekeepers experienced a 50% loss in bees in their hives. That is scary to think about. In 2013, beekeepers reported a 40% decline in bees in their hives. I’m glad to see the number is improving but that is still far to many bees dying. That is why Beekeepers are so beneficial to modern agriculture and the bees.
When Bill Mckibben helped Kirk buy the bee farm in Vermont. It was seen as an investment on his part. An investment to our environment and to his daughter who was suffering from cancer. It was also for himself. He wanted to get over his fear of bees. He had a run in with some bees will hiking in the woods. He was stung upwards of 90 times and had to be rushed to the hospital and put on lots of Iv’s. it was a traumatic experience. It also gave Kirk a chance to perfect his craft with his bees. He wanted to impart the knowledge he learned on the rest of the world. For the future generation of beekeepers to come. What better way of doing this than by having a farm?
In recent years Neonicotinoids have come under fire. They have been linked as a major contributor to colony collapse disorder. This class of pesticides weakens a bee nervous system. They lose the ability to navigate and reproduce. Two things that are essential to the bee population sustaining itself. Neonicotinoids have already been banned state wide in Oregon. I hope in the future other states will take the same initiative. This class of pesticides has been largely banned in Europe since 2013.
One way to combat this through urban beekeeping. Urban beekeeping is the process of using a space like a city rooftops to keep bees. It is legal in cities all over the United States such as Burlington, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Chicago.Urban beekeeping is the future to sustaining the bee population. Hopefully with all of these urban bee spots popping up we will see a buzz in the bee population.