We Might Get Arrested

By Bill McKibben

To the crucial question “What am I doing here?” let me add the journalist’s constant concern: “now.” I may not have a philosopher’s deep answer to this dilemma. I do have a personal one. It begins, in some sense, with pursuing a scoop.

As part of their work, reporters, and that’s what I am, or was, need to sense what comes next, to be very much in the now. When I was in my mid-20s—this would be the mid-1980s—I began reading the occasional reference to global warming in one obscure source after another. Scientific journals, mostly, but also the reports from little-attended Congressional hearings. The world, these studies hinted, might not end in the much-feared nuclear bang but in the explosion of a billion pistons every minute. Our greatest crisis might come not from our violent natures but from the cult of consumption that had become the dominant feature of Western life.…

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