Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist
Bill McKibben (2013)
Purpose and Meaning
In Oil and Honey, Bill McKibben offers an account of his life and the struggle of his recent years as he helped grow the momentum around combating climate change. Originally, Bill had simply been a humble author (and all around good human), writing about environmental issues for decades. However, despite the overwhelming evidence to support his concern for the planet, his words were not making the impact he knew was needed. He felt compelled to do more in order to help avert the ongoing destruction of our planet and the corresponding catastrophic climate change that results from it.
As a result, he (along with a number of dedicated individuals), helped found 350.org, an organization intent on fighting against our over-dependence on fossil fuels. This book describes the undertaking, and the struggles of the grass-roots movement, as he himself seeks to reconcile his desire for a quiet peaceful life, with the need to protect this quiet and peaceful life.
That is the very premise of his story, which is a kind of memoir and examination into his actions and motivations. On the one hand he lives and breaths for his home and family back in Vermont, yet on the other, he is compelled to travel the world and invigorate the battle for the environment. Fortunately, he also has allies in his effort to wean society and governments of their fossil fuel addictions.
An Unlikely Hero
The conflict is fierce, and it does ultimately take a toll on him personally, but in his mind it is worth it if he can help make the world a better place. Indeed, Bill’s mind is a sharp instrument and a wealth of knowledge on environmental matters and progressive solutions. Although he may not have started out on this path with the intention of becoming the environmental hero he is, his active involvement in the movement as well as his words and counsel have pretty much made the designation.
I highly recommend this book to get a better understanding of the momentous struggle that is underway, and a reassertion of what he and others like him are fighting for.