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Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely…
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Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist

by Bill McKibben

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
While to some extent I appreciate McKibben's work, and he can write fairly well, this book makes clear he isn't an environmentalist at all. Rather, he is a sort of humanist reformer working to reconcile human domination of the earth with the reality of global warming. ( )
  owen1218 | Jan 13, 2018 |
I first met Bill at Slow Money in 2010 at Shelburne Farms at the Second Slow Money National Gathering. His reputation preceded him. My cousin was a UVM student, and had recently participated in some of the Step It Up actions prefacing the creation of 350.org. Over the next year, I bumped into Bill two more times—once at Warren Wilson, and once at the San Francisco Green Festival.

McKibben is a voracious reader. Pretty much every book I pick up has a thoughtful review plastered across it of his penning. He's a phenomenally versed intellectual, who is aware of what's going on in such areas as the local agriculture and local economies movement, but has chosen to pursue a single-minded objective via his 350.org platform.

The book reads as a personal reflection on Bill's shift from author to activist. He's sacrificed a lot with his grueling compassion. Half of the book is spent on the road, delivering mean stump speeches. The other half is about his relationship with a beekeeper in Vermont, and his love of a simpler, more grounded lifestyle. Of course, he has his hallmark catalogs of recent climate disasters. Increasingly, they become a way to mark the passage of time—2011, oh yeah, that was the year of Irene.

I will not a bit of incongruity I find in the beekeeping practices described. Although the beekeeper is fully chemical-free in his treatment of his bees, he still uses sugar water to feed his bees sometimes. I find practices like these to represent a breakdown in the integrity of such enterprises. Is it local food if it's supplemented by cane sugar grown in the tropics? Also, how do the bees feel about their beloved nectar being replaced by a commodity?

Although I've read many an article by Bill over the years, and have some of his books up on my shelves [I'm especially looking forward to "Deep Economy"], this is the first time I've read one of his books. I was pleasantly surprised by the humanity within. Sometimes I feel as though Bill has been consumed by his work to fight climate change, coming to a nadir in his piece in the New Republic, "We Need to Literally Declare War on Climate Change."

If you too find yourself hesitant to step into a new role in our times of strife—nationalism, racism, and climate change, to name a few—you may find this book useful and reassuring. Changing how we engage with the world is never easy, but such a shift can be quite fulfilling. ( )
  willszal | Mar 8, 2017 |
I don't necessarily disagree with the author but (at least for me) McKibben failed in his goal to convince me to act. Whatever environmental issues we have, they are essentially beyond our control to change. Unless the author wants to eliminate a few billion people and abolish most modern technology, humans are going to continue changing the environment until we kill ourselves off; and then the Earth will slowly shift back to a pre-Industrial Revolution climate. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
If you like stories about bees and protests, then you will enjoy it. Certainly valuable for the discussion of global warming but I wasn't entirely enamored with the subject matter overall. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program in exchange for a promised review. I'm not entirely sure why it took me a long time to finish it, as it is engaging and well written. McKibben alternates between his transformation from a mild-mannered academic to an world-travelling environmental activist and thoughtful visits with his beekeeper friend in Vermont. His goal is transparent- Global Climate change will force a break from fossil fuel use- and sooner will be better for all of us. He has advantages most of us don't share- credibility, adequate "free" time to trot the globe promoting his cause and getting arrested in front of the White House, and a publishing record that lets him write about it all with the expectation of publication. It is well worth reading. His ideas seem sound- (I'm an old hippie who remembers the 1960's) and the issues are clearly important. The topic is so current that even this recent memoir is a bit dated now- Politics and Economics move so fast that this is a bit like tales of the good old days, even a couple of years ago.
Read it- I hope it inspires you to take action. ( )
  Helenoel | Jun 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Environmental activist Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, writes of both his personal moves toward sustainability—learning beekeeping in Vermont—and of the “big picture” action we must take together, like the massive protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, in this combination of memoir and polemic. ... What’s valuable here is McKibben’s first-person account of involvement at every level in taking direct action; it’s a how-to guide for the rest of us.
added by KelMunger | editLit/Rant, Kel Munger (Nov 9, 2013)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805092846, Hardcover)

Bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben recounts the personal and global story of the fight to build and preserve a sustainable planet

Bill McKibben is not a person you'd expect to find handcuffed and behind bars, but that's where he found himself in the summer of 2011 after leading the largest civil disobedience in thirty years, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House.

With the Arctic melting, the Midwest in drought, and Irene scouring the Atlantic, McKibben recognized that action was needed if solutions were to be found. Some of those would come at the local level, where McKibben joins forces with a Vermont beekeeper raising his hives as part of the growing trend toward local food. Other solutions would come from a much larger fight against the fossil-fuel industry as a whole.

Oil and Honey is McKibben’s account of these two necessary and mutually reinforcing sides of the global climate fight—from the center of the maelstrom and from the growing hive of small-scale local answers. With empathy and passion he makes the case for a renewed commitment on both levels, telling the story of raising one year’s honey crop and building a social movement that’s still cresting.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -0400)

"Bill McKibben is not a person you'd expect to find handcuffed in the city jail in Washington, D.C. But that's where he spent three days in the summer of 2011, after leading the largest civil disobedience in thirty years to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. A few months later the protesters would see their efforts rewarded when President Obama agreed to put the project on hold. And yet McKibben realized that this small and temporary victory was at best a stepping-stone. With the Arctic melting, the Midwest in drought, and Sandy scouring the Atlantic, the need for much deeper solutions was obvious. Some of those would come at the local level, and McKibben recounts a year he spends in the company of a beekeeper raising his hives as part of the growing trend toward local food. Other solutions would come from a much larger fight against the fossil-fuel industry as a whole. Oil and Honey is McKibben's account of these two necessary and mutually reinforcing sides of the global climate fight--from the absolute center of the maelstrom and from the growing hive of small-scale local answers to the climate crisis. With characteristic empathy and passion, he reveals the imperative to work on both levels, telling the story of raising one year's honey crop and building a social movement that's still cresting"--… (more)

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