Bill McKibben: We Can't Wait for the Politicians, We Have to Create the Future that We Need Ourselves
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We will never have as much money as the oil companies, so we need a different currency to work in. We need bodies, we need creativity, we need spirit. 350.org has been like a beta test for that movement. It began with youth here at Power Shift, kids who were here at Power Shift four years ago. It's now spread across the planet -- in the last two years there have been 50,000 demonstrations in 189 nations. CNN called it the most widespread political activity in the planet's history. But it needs to get bigger still. On the first Earth Day in 1970 there were 20 million Americans in the street -- one in 10 Americans -- that's the kind of size we need.
So, on September 24th we need your help. September 24th is the next big day of action -- we're calling it Moving Planet. And in those 189 nations, people will be in motion, much of it will be on bicycles, because the bicycle is one of the few tools that rich and poor both use. Who here knows how to ride a bike? All right -- Sept 24th, I cannot wait to see the pictures. We are not going to wait for the politicians to move, we are going to create the future that we need ourselves. But that movement doesn't just need to be bigger -- it needs to be sharper, too, more aggressive. You know what? At Copenhagen, we got 117 nations to sign on to that 350 target. That was good, but they were the wrong 117 nations -- they were the poorest and most vulnerable nations. The most addicted nations, led by our own, who aren't yet willing to bite the bullet, that's where we have got to go to work. That work, to deal with that money pollution, that work starts Monday at 10 o'clock in Lafayette Square, across from the White House and next to a place called the US Chamber of Commerce.
Now, the Koch brothers are high peaks of corruption. They are high peaks, but the US Chamber of Commerce is the Everest of dirty money. It boasts on its web page that it is the biggest lobby in Washington. In fact, it spends more money lobbying than the next five lobbies combined. It spent more money on politics last year than the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee combined, and 94% of that went to climate deniers. We cannot stop their money, but we can strip them of their credibility. They claim to represent all of American business, but they don't. 55% of their money came from 16 companies. They don't have to say who those companies are, but it's easy to tell when you watch what they do. They spend their time lobbying to make sure the planet heats up as fast as it possibly can. They sent a legal brief to the EPA last year saying that they should take no action on climate change because if the planet warmed, humans could alter their behavior and physiology to deal with the problem. I don't really know what that means, alter your physiology -- grow gills? I don't know. But I tell you this -- I am too old to change my physiology and you all are too good looking.
But I will adapt my behavior. Everyday now I roll out of bed and go to work fighting them. Hell, I will go to bed at night and try to dream up new ways to fight. We are going to adapt our behavior, all right. We are going to adapt our behavior now to fight on every front. I am sorry if that sounds aggressive, but there we are. 22 years ago, I wrote the first book on climate change and I have gotten to watch it all, and I know that simply persuasion will not do -- we need to fight. Now we need to fight nonviolently and with civil disobedience. You will hear from my friend Tim DeChristopher in a moment and more to come, but if you're going to go that route one thing you need to make sure is that you manage to get across in your witness that you are not the radicals in this fight -- the radicals are the people who are fundamentally altering the composition of the atmosphere. That is the most radical thing people have ever done.