Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist

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Bill McKibben tells a story of contrasts. He feels compelled to take action, to make real change happen… based on the need revealed in years of studies regarding climate change. It’s a global problem and so requires a global solution. McKibben’s solution involves jetting around the country sharing a message of environmental consciousness, fighting against the political influence of “Big Oil” companies, and sometimes even planning demonstrations that would lead to his (and his followers’) arrest. On the other hand, he loves his Vermont home and idealizes a Thoreau-like existence—so much so that he purchased land for beekeeper Kirk Webster, who wanted nothing more than a place to live a peaceful, self-sustaining life (basically an Amish lifestyle without the religious aspect).

McKibben is torn between global and local, and the book reflects this conflict, alternating between those extremes. It’s an interesting account—both local and global measures to care for the environment are on a much larger scale than anything I would ever consider. I only wonder how he claims to be an “unlikely activist” after a career full of writing to bring attention to environmental concerns. Political activism really doesn’t seem like much of a stretch from there.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Times Books
Publish Date 2013-Sep-17
ISBN 9780805092844
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue April 2014
Category Current Events & Politics


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