Bill McKibben, the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, is an American environmentalist and author who frequently writes about global warming and alternative energy, and advocates for more localized economies. In 2010 The Boston Globe called him "probably the nation's leading environmentalist" and Time magazine described him as "the world's best green journalist". In 2009, he led the organization of 350.org, which coordinated what Foreign Policy called "the largest ever global coordinated rally of any kind," with 5,200 simultaneous demonstrations in 181 countries. The magazine named him to its inaugural list of the 100 most important global thinkers, and MSN named him one of the dozen most influential men of 2009.
Beginning his career at The New Yorker as a staff writer, he wrote much of the "Talk of the Town" column from 1982 to early 1987. His debut book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in The New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. Subsequently, McKibben has authored another 12 books covering issues as diverse as genetic engineering to media culture to local economic development planning. In January 2007, he founded stepitup07.org to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution by 80 percent by 2050. With six college students, he organized 1,400 global warming demonstrations across all 50 states on April 14, 2007. Step It Up 2007 has been described as the largest day of protest about climate change in the nation's history. McKibben is also a frequent contributor to various magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside.
"I'm a beginner as an organizer; it's a great honor to be included on this list of people who have changed America for the better. I am deeply grateful to The Puffin Foundation and The Nation Institute for this recognition of my work. I am even more appreciative that this award is representative of a shared conviction that now is a singular moment in our history for all people of good conscience to come together in defense of the planet. Our work has never been more urgent."