Climate-change activist Bill McKibben isn't overly concerned about being followed by fossil-fuel supporters

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      Here's an email that arrived in my inbox today. It came from writer Bill McKibben, who cofounded the grassroots group to mobilize the public to fight climate change.

      Dear Friends,

      Late last week, I got the interesting news that right wing operatives from the fossil fuel industry are mounting an impressive campaign against me (as well as a handful of other high-profile climate activists).

      Apparently I’ll now have video trackers following me wherever I go; hired researchers are digging through fifty cartons of my papers at the university where they’re housed; and they’ll be running a six-figure digital advertising campaign to smear my reputation.

      I have three takeaways from this:

      1. It’s not me they’re after, it’s you. I’ve been writing and speaking for the better part of forty years, and never attracted this kind of notice before. But you’ve built a movement that’s starting to inflict real pain on the industry: Just in the last couple weeks, the Constitution and NED pipelines were both blocked in the northeast; ditto the Tongue River coal train in Montana; over sixty students have been arrested occupying the offices of universities to call for fossil fuel divestment; and on and on. 

      2. No need to waste sympathy on me. It’s not fun being in their crosshairs—and I don’t look forward to see how they twist my words—but it’s not the end of the world. Right now, we should be keeping in mind the people who are taking real risks every day to take a stand—people like Berta Cáceres, who was murdered for her activism two months ago in Honduras, or the farmers in the Philippines recently killed in a brutal police crackdown at a protest, or the thousands of people around the world who will be risking arrest as part of the Break Free mobilization these next couple weeks.

      3. Above all, let's not be distracted. That’s their goal—to get folks thinking about absolutely anything except the climate crisis, the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. February and March were record-hot months in the history of our planet, but May is going to be a record-hot political month for the fossil fuel industry.

      Look, what we’re learning is this: When we fight, we win. It’s working. They’re fighting back. Let’s not back down.

      If you haven’t already signed up to be part of one of the Break Free actions around the country, you can do that here.

      And if you can’t make it to an action in person, sign up to help keep tabs on what’s going on around the world—so that we can turn all this watching around, and help keep each other safe.

      With great thanks for the solidarity near and far,

      Bill McKibben for

      P.S. I’ve been hearing from friends all day who are worried that I’ll be daunted by the attack dogs of the fossil fuel industry. To reassure you, I thought I’d show you the brand new attack dog that arrived in the McKibben household last week. Her name is Birke, and she can nip with the best of them.