Bill McKibben: Oil Spill Is an Opportunity for Americans

Author and environmentalist says individuals can help end dependence on fossil fuels.

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Bill McKibben realized early on that if he wanted to do more than just chronicle climate change and other environmental issues, he would have to become an environmental activist himself. And he encourages Americans to become activists after the Gulf oil spill. [See photos of the Gulf oil spill.]

The spill presents an opportunity for Americans to demand better leadership on energy and the environment, and to become leaders themselves, says McKibben, a best-selling author. "This is one of the moments when we're offered an opportunity to really see what's going on in the world," McKibben says. The fact that the Deepwater Horizon rig was seeking oil more than a mile below the ocean floor means we're running out of oil, he argues. "Even if that oil made it safely to shore and got burned in the gas tanks of our cars, it would be an environmental catastrophe," McKibben adds, noting that we have just lived through the 12 warmest months on record.

Here's Bill McKibben on how each of us can take part in leading America into a sustainable energy future.

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[Click here to listen to the interview with McKibben]

The U.S. News podcast series, Leadership for the Next Decade, explores the ideas, innovations, and solutions that will inspire America for the future.

Moderated by U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly, the podcasts feature exclusive interviews with leaders across the spectrum, from education, business, art, science, and medicine to government, public service, and philanthropy.