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Author Promotes Lifestyle Changes in Global Warming Fight

A writer and environmentalist explains how lifestyle changes can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate America's contribution to global warming as part of a NewsHour series on ways to deal with climate change.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Nearly two decades ago, writer and activist Bill McKibben was among first nonscientists to sound the alarm about global warming and the need to take action.

    His newest book, "Deep Economy," is a manifesto for attacking the problem locally. In it, he argues for creating a sustainable future by changing the way we eat, the way we use energy, and how we organize our communities. Bill McKibben joins me from New York.

    And, Bill, the earlier guests in our series of conversations have talked about big institutional and industrial responses to global climate change. You're talking to people about where they live and how they live.

    BILL MCKIBBEN, Writer and Activist: I think probably what I'm talking about are the longer-term ways that we're going to deal with this. You know, the economy that we have, the lifestyle that we have is built on the cheap fossil fuel that we've been using for 200 years. If we're going to get serious about getting off that fossil fuel for the global warming problems that it's causing, then the world that we inhabit is going to look a little different when we're done.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    So does this mean redefining how we think about comfort and prosperity?

  • BILL MCKIBBEN:

    Well, I think it actually will mean asking deeper questions about how we think about those things. We for a very long time believed very fervently that more is better. In the last little while, we've begun to suspect that more may be causing deep environmental problems.

    And one of the things I talk about in my book is the new work that economists and sociologists and others have done to sort of show us that more isn't actually making us all that happier, all that much happier anyway.

    The point of "Deep Economy" is to suggest that there may be an answer to both these problems, the ecological and the social, in trying to scale down somewhat the size of our economies, to think more locally than we think at the moment, to spend the next 100 years slowly reeling back in some of the endless lines of supply that we've spent the last century flinging out across the globe.

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