McKibben Do the Math Tour and the Math that Works Conference


Bill McKibben and the Do the Math Tour were in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota on Friday November 30th where they spoke to a sold out crowd of over 1200 people. Bill was joined by special guests Mason Jennings, Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network, our own Polar explorer Will Steger, Kate Faye from MN350 and his old college friend Winona LaDuke. Bill reminded us that the fossil fuel companies today hold five times the amount of fossil fuel that can be burned if we have a hope of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Will spoke to his own eyewitness experience with climate change in the Polar Regions and encouraged strong clean energy leadership from Governor Dayton. Watch Will’s remarks here. The event explained their climate math and then encouraged everyone to get involved in a divestment campaign.

The climate math according to Bill: “To grasp the seriousness of the climate crisis, you just need to do a little math. Fossil fuel corporations have 5 times more oil and coal and gas in known reserves than climate scientists think is safe to burn. We have to keep 80% of their fossil fuels underground to keep the earth in livable shape. Here is the first of three numbers you shouldn’t forget: 2 degrees– Almost every government in the world has agreed that any warming above a 2°C (3.6°F) rise would be unsafe. We have already raised the temperature .8°C, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the climate dice are loaded for both devastating floods and drought.” Read more about the climate math here.

McKibben’s and’s campaign includes an effort to get governments, schools and churches to drop their investments in big oil companies. Learn more this effort and about divestment campaigns at

On Saturday MN350 hosted “Climate Math that Works” in partnership with our youth organizations, Minnesota Youth Environmental Network, supported by us, and our high school program, Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN).  Nearly 200 people spent the day defining a robust agenda for Minnesota, including exploring divestment campaigns on campuses. Youth gathered in the morning from 10am-12pm and in the afternoon, community members joined them for powerful movement storytelling and tool building workshops.  Sam Grant from the Movement Center for Deep Democracy gave the keynote. He reminded us that while we work for justice, we have to continue to love and build solutions.  The day ended with stories and songs from singer and songwriter Paul Doffing.

Media Highlights:

New York Times
The article in The New York Times tells the story of students, faculty and alumni around the country who are demanding divestment from fossil fuels. On a few campuses, like Swarthmore, they’ve been at it for semesters, but all of a sudden, as the article says, they find themselves “at the vanguard of a national movement. In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.” Read more

Minnesota Daily
The Minnesota Daily covers the Math that Works Conference on Saturday. Read More

Minnesota Public Radio
Bill McKibben on Minnesota Public Radio, The Daily Circuit Program. Read More Blog brought together an overflow crowd of 1200 people for Do the Math Minneapolis, which also featured Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, explorer Will Steger, and musician Mason Jennings. Read More


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