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Bill McKibben and 350.org on the ‘Do the Math’ Tour

A 21-city tour to demonstrate the simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben

Shadia Fayne Wood

Bill McKibben and 350.org continued the Do the Math tour across the U.S. with an East Coast and Midwest leg through the end of November and into December. All 22 shows sold out, from Portland, Maine, to Atlanta to Salt Lake City. 

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

Overpass Light Brigade

love Madison, Wis., and the folks there put on quite a welcome. The show was in this beautiful, labyrinthian Masonic hall, and the Overpass Light Brigade brought out their signs to welcome the overflow crowd.

Lennox Yearwood

Steve Liptay

Rev. Lennox Yearwood

Another of my favorite people in this movement is Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip-Hop Caucus who helped anchor some of our Midwest shows. He's a more talented orator than I, and helped bring out the story of the movement against Apartheid with great moral force.

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

350 Madison

350 Madison sprung out of work against the Keystone XL pipeline last year and is already one of the strongest local groups in the country.

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

Refining Of The Script And Flow

It turns out that holding people's attention for two hours as you talk about the biggest problem we've ever faced isn't the easiest. We did a lot of refining of the script and flow. I like to think that we got it down by the end, as tough as it is to win a few laughs out of folks when talking about all this.

Bill McKibben Winona LaDuke

Steve Liptay

An Extraordinary Advocate

An old friend of mine, Winona LaDuke, an extraordinary advocate, speaker and organizer, lives not far from Minneapolis, and joined us on stage there and also in Boulder, Colo. She has first hand knowledge of the impact of fossil fuel development on native lands, and the power of a divestment movement, which she was a part of when we were in school together.

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

A Blazing Summer And A Superstorm Or Two

One sign of the increasing attention paid to this issue was the press that popped up at every show. It seems that after a winter without snow, a blazing summer and a superstorm or two, the mainstream press is beginning to do their jobs a bit better on this issue.

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

The Good Folks Of Nebraska

The good folks of Nebraska are some of the fiercest fighters around — they're doing everything they can to keep Keystone from wrecking the beautiful sandhills and Ogallala aquifer, which are so crucial to their state.

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

99.67%

The day we arrived in Omaha, Neb., a state agency declared that 100% of the state was now in extreme drought, up from 99.67% the day before. I suspect that explains why were filling overflow seating even as the Husker football team was playing in the Big 10 championship.

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

Our Last Stop

Our last stop was Salt Lake City, home to some of our favorite allies, Peaceful Uprising, which was started by Tim DeChristopher, now out of prison and on house arrest — I even managed a visit to the bookstore where he's now working. (Our traditional beer skit was altered somewhat to comply with the state's tight alcohol laws.)

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

Terry Tempest Williams

Another treat: Terry Tempest Williams, a dear friend and extraordinary writer, met us to give an introduction to the show and set the tone for a fight that will define Utah for the next century.

Josh Fox

Steve Liptay

Josh Fox

The filmmaker Josh Fox, director of Gasland, was on the bus for about six stops, shooting a concert film of the tour for us to use as an organizing tool for the months ahead.

Bill McKibben

Steve Liptay

Last Impressions

Last impressions: What a ride. I think we moved the needle, just a little bit — before we finished, students at over 150 campuses started up divestment campaigns, and we even won a few crucial victories. I'm really looking forward to what comes next.

Paul Anderson

Ambitious New Campaign

Bill McKibben and 350.org hit the road the day after the election to kick off an ambitious new campaign to divest colleges, universities and other institutions from fossil fuels. Supported by a rotating crew of supporting speakers and musicians, the tour will reach 21 cities across the country.

Bill McKibben

Paul Anderson

Rally Meets TED Talk

"It's called the Do the Math tour, but it's not a calculus class. Think of it as more of a campaign rally meets TED talk, with a very dire warning about the future attached." –Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben

Paul Anderson

For Good or Ill

"Part of this tour is acknowledging that we're near the end of the fight – for good or ill – against climate change. After a couple years of traveling the world with 350, I'm feeling a bit weary, but it's nothing compared with the strain the planet is going through as it begins to overheat." –B.M.

Bill McKibben

Paul Anderson

A Most Important Fight

"We started the night after the election – which was a message in itself – but also a bit of a bummer. After a nice handful of wins, it's tough to spend a few weeks reminding our friends about how we are still losing quite badly in this most important of fights." –B.M.

Bill McKibben

Paul Anderson

Reaching Students

"One of the groups of people we're really trying to reach are students. There are dozens of divestment campaigns underway in places from the Northeast to the deep South to the far West. Our friends at Unity College have led the way and already promised to divest their endowment from fossil fuels." –B.M.

Ryan Suffern

Joining Forces

Everyone who attends the Do the Math tour is invited to contribute – from creating banner art, to starting mini-movements on campus, to joining mass actions against fossil fuel industries just over the horizon.

Bill McKibben

Ben Powless

Last Safe Targets

"The math refers to the climate math I first wrote about in Rolling Stone this summer. There are three key numbers: 2 degrees Celsius, the last safe target for warming, the reddest of red lines; 595 gigatons, which is the amount of carbon we can emit and still stay below 2 degrees; and 2795 gigatons – the amount that the fossil fuel industries are planning to burn now." –B.M.

Paul Anderson

Musical Guests

Bill is joined by musical guests like Nahko from Medicine for the People (pictured) in Seattle, and Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) at stops along the East Coast and elsewhere.

Bill McKibben

Ryan Suffern

A Moral Line in the Sand

"One tool that we have right now is the tool of divestment – if it is wrong for the fossil fuel industries to wreck the planet, it is certainly wrong for our schools to be profiting from it. This is a tool that has worked at least once, to take down apartheid, and it's a critical part of drawing a moral line in the sand against the most dangerous industry on earth." –B.M.

Sricharitha Mullaguru

Working for the Future

"There's a practical dimension to this as well. If university presidents are serious about working for the future of their students, they shouldn't be investing in companies out to ruin that future. It just doesn't make sense." –B.M.

Pictured: Students from the Claremont schools just outside Los Angeles have already built one of the strongest campaigns in the country. They rallied just outside the L.A. tour stop.

Shadia Fayne Wood

Reaching the Limit

"We use a very simple analogy for this stuff. Two degrees Celsius is like the legal drinking limit. It's not wise to get near it, but we've agreed it's the limit – 565 gigatons of carbon is like the several beers it takes to reach that limit in a night." –B.M.

Bill McKibben

Paul Anderson

Revoking Their License

"The cases of beer represent the carbon that the fossil fuel industries are prepared to burn – including the bottom of the barrel stuff like Keystone. If a driver was five times over the legal drinking limit, they would lose their license. We think it's time for the fossil fuel industry to lose their social license – their veneer or respectability." –B.M.

Bill McKibben

Ryan Suffern

Cheaters

"Here's the bottom line: the fossil fuel industry gets away with running our planet because of their money. They make so much of it because, in a word, they cheat – they don't pay for producing the most dangerous pollution the planet has ever seen. Everyone else cleans up after themselves." –B.M.

Bill McKibben

Ben Powless

Ready to Do More

"We've sold out every show so far, which I didn't necessarily expect, which means we've been able to connect with thousands of folks. Word from our field organizers is that everyone is leaving quite ready to do more, which is exactly what we need right now." –B.M.

Win Goodbody

Impressive Start

"Our West Coast leg was just amazing: out of the gate with five straight sold-out shows, driving through the impressive beauty of the Pacific coast on our biodiesel bus – a truly wonderful start to the tour." –B.M.

Paul Anderson

Growing the Movement

"We have a little tradition for every show: 'Family photos' that help show how much our movement is growing as we travel the country. I must say, seeing this photo from our first stop in Seattle was incredibly impressive, and every show since has been just as packed and full of energy." –B.M.

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