Book Review: Bill McKibben’s;OIL AND HONEY; The Education of an Unlikely Activist

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November 7, 2013

By Bob Difley

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that more of us RVers would describe ourselves as concerned with protecting wildlife and the environment, agreeing with sustainability practices, reducing, reusing, and recycling, and trying to conserve our natural resources than those who do not have these concerns.

Those who do may not even consider themselves environmentalists, a term which is often used in derision by those who are not. And bring up “global warming” or the lesser button-pushing term, “climate change” and you will likely find yourself in a lively and often heated debate on the merit (or hoax) of this hot topic.

Whichever side you are on–or tending to lean to–it never hurts to listen to the other side with an open mind, process the information, and make a rational level-headed decision on whether there is something you think you should be doing or whether the whole idea is political deception or the naive and gullible rantings of do-gooder leftists.

Bill McKibbon, author, educator, environmentalist, and activist and a founding partner of, the website devoted to demonstrations and education on the effects of climate change, has written a new book, Oil and Honey, which is a memoir of two different, yet related, facets of his life.

The oil side is about his personal realization that climate change is dangerously real and that he needed to inform others of the facts that influenced his decision to transition from author/educator to a more activist position. It is a personal, self-revealing, memoir of this transition and an historical look at the climate change movement.

The second part of the book, which is not really a second part but  interwoven with the oil part, is with his neighbor, a beekeeper, and the day-to-day activities to keep the hive colonies healthy and productive.

Oil and Honey(which you can find on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and as an ebook) is a fascinating look into the personal and public life of McKibben and–no matter which side you are on–a look at the climate issue that you may not have seen or read before. I recommend the book also for Bill’s relaxed and personal style, and how he often makes you feel that you are sitting in the seat next to him on the bio-diesel fueled bus traveling between speaking engagement and demonstrations.

And it might prompt you to take a second look at your personal RV lifestyle, and whether there might be something you could do or change to make the world a better–and safer–place to life, not only for you but for your children, grandchildren, and those that follow. Happy Travels.

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck, and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts, and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

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