McKibben Receives Honors for Activism

Bill+McKibben%27s+%22Do+the+Math+Tour%22+has+toured+college+campuses+across+the+nation.+%28Courtesy%2F+PRWatch%29
Bill McKibben's

Bill McKibben's "Do the Math Tour" has toured college campuses across the nation. (Courtesy/ PRWatch)

Bill McKibben's "Do the Math Tour" has toured college campuses across the nation. (Courtesy/ PRWatch)

By Molly Talbert

On Dec. 29, the Burlington Free Press named Bill McKibben, Schumann distinguished scholar at the College and Ripton resident, Vermonter of the Year for 2012.

“This was the year of growing recognition that a string of weather events, from violent storms to record-breaking droughts, was having a profound impact on the lives of people in this country and around the world,” said the announcement. “Bill McKibben’s message is finally sinking in.”

The Burlington Free Press also said that McKibben, who has traversed the country for his “Do the Math Tour” to build the movement to end fossil fuel use, “has been for years among the most effective voices raising the alarm about the threats of climate change.”

Ultimately, the announcement said, McKibben was given the award “for his tireless and prolific advocacy for the planet on behalf of future generations.”

For McKibben, this award held high importance.

“It was a very, very, very high honor,” said McKibben during a phone interview. “I get more than my fair share of awards and this one meant more than any other because I like Vermont and Vermonters so much.”

“I think that it is also, in a sense, an award to Middlebury College,” said McKibben. “Middlebury has been exceptionally good about being a good neighbor in Vermont and to letting me do all kinds of work here and around the world.”

During his latest campaign, the “Do the Math Tour,” McKibben visited 210 college and university campuses across the country to increase awareness about climate change and gaining followers of his movement to end the use of fossil fuels.

“[The tour] went better than we had any right to expect,” said McKibben. “We managed to sell out every night for 24 nights.”

Although the tour was a success for McKibben, he is hesitantly optimistic about the new year.

“I know one is supposed to be entirely hopeful in the new year,” he said. “I hope that we’re finally building a movement.”

With Hurricane Sandy barreling through the eastern United States last fall, last year being the hottest on record and with Australia currently experiencing a record breaking summer with extreme heat, McKibben isn’t “100 percent hopeful all the time because the science gets darker all the time.”

But, of course, he won’t let go or stop working for a movement he has spent so much time and energy on, especially because the movement seems to be gaining momentum.

“I don’t know if we got started in time but we’re going to do our best,” he said.

The Do the Math Tour will arrive in Mead Chapel Sunday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

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McKibben Receives Honors for Activism