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Bill McKibben may inspire you to change more than light bulbs

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Get eco-inspired to make green decisions this weekend - at the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair and - Tuesday at Colorado College.
  • Get eco-inspired to make green decisions this weekend at the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair and Tuesday at Colorado College.

The only high school class that ever put me to sleep was economics. I'm usually not a back-of-the-classroom dozer, but I've always found that subject beckons me to dreamland like an academic Ambien.

Fortunately for our country's future, it does not evoke the same response in Bill McKibben. Far from it, in fact; within his understanding of economics, McKibben sees keys to the survival of our planet.

McKibben, an American environmentalist and author best-known for his work The End of Nature, postulates in his latest book, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, that in order to truly push past the energy crisis, there must be more local direction, with regions producing their own food, energy, culture and entertainment.

The Middlebury College scholar-in-residence says local self-sufficiency creates a sense of solidarity between the individual and the community that can inspire people to unite in the fight against climate change.

"We can't afford to burn the energy we do have primarily coal because it produces the CO2 that drives global warming," McKibben says. "So, in fact, we have either an energy crisis or an energy opportunity: the chance to make the speedy transition to the kind of energy we can rely on far in the future."

McKibben urges people to work together daily at a local level, through a citizens' movement called Step It Up (stepitup2007.org). The project focuses on fighting climate change and asks individuals to rally within their own communities. The goal? To demand that representatives take the necessary steps now to cut CO2 80 percent by the year 2050.

Throughout his years of work, one overlying message pervades. As McKibben says, "Change your light bulbs, sure but then go to work changing federal policy."

Bill McKibben presents "Building the Climate Movement"

CC's Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave.

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Free; call 389-6606 or visit coloradocollege.edu for more.

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