Environmental warrior Bill McKibben has been on the front line. Distinguished author, celebrated campaigner, defiant activist, spearheading small and large campaigns as he bravely challenges big polluters. Protesting, debating, lecturing, gracing Australia on several occasions - "Do The Maths" tour, delivering the 6th Hobart Oration last year, and various television appearances including the National Press Club. Founding Step Up 1 and 2, his co-creation 350.org has been passed the baton, as he and they continue waging war in 2017.
But every great hero has an opponent. In this case, unswerving powerhouse Adani Group. A conglomerate with numerous sizable interests, it specialises in resources, energy and logistics. All whilst purportedly adhering to environmental standards. With Australian projects North Galilee Basin Rail Project and Abbot Point in the works, since gaining state/federal government approval, now pressing forward with it's Carmichael Coal Mine & Rail Project. This state/federal approval, according to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, granted after "extensive government and community scrutiny".
So, it's a monumental clash of the titans. On the one hand, Adani - determined to realise its strategic vision. On the other, the Bill McKibben posse - hellbent on thwarting whatever and whomever they deem environmentally destructive. Rational justifications, sound logic, hence bolstering arguments on both sides of the fence. So regardless of which camp you're in, reasonable counterarguments that should at least be considered - so as to fully grasp the broad complexities. So whilst 350.org's #StopAdani Roadshow is an opportunity to congregate with your ilk, also an opportunity to hear the other side's point of view. For tickets.
I had the opportunity to ask Bill McKibben some questions relating to 350.org's upcoming #StopAdani presentation(s):
1) Environmental campaigner, activist, author, founder of Step It Up 1 and 2, and co-founder of 350.org (whose name draws on the science that 350 ppm of carbon dioxide is unsafe), do you mind elaborating on the 350.org's key purpose? We try to build a global grassroots campaign to slow down global warming. We organise around the world. We fight as best we can.
2) You've commented on leaderless or headless movements. I, and perhaps others, never realised you were a major driving force behind 350.org. Is it a choice to differentiate yourself from your movements? If so, why?
Well, I helped found 350.org. But we said from the beginning that we wanted an 'open source'' movement where everyone could bring their creativity to the party. I think of it as more of what, in the States, we call a potluck supper--everyone around the world knows best how to make it work where they are.
3) Orchestrated by 350.org, what is the Stop Adani Roadshow all about? Trying to stop plans for the world's largest coal mine. This is the 21st century, not the 18th.
4) What's your issue with Adani? After all, they're abiding by strict environmental standards, which among other things, equates to no direct impact upon the reef? Is this fight truly worth it?
There are a hundred problems with the plan, from taking traditional land to endangering the reef with ship traffic. But the real problem, of course, is what happens when all that coal gets burned. And what happens, of course, is that the planet's temperature spikes still higher. That's the deepest danger to the reef, not to mention to everything else.
5) Isn't it naive to assume we can challenge such vital economic activity, which ultimately underpins our Western way of life?
Well, if by naive you mean 'the Aussie coal industry has huge political power,' that of course is true. But we're naive enough to think that some combination of people power and scientific fact might be almost as important as the money of the fossil fuel barons.