Oil And Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist 

Bill McKibben | Time Books, $18, 272 pp.

click to enlarge 1569365.jpg

This intriguing story — at its heart, a battle against Big Oil— starts in a bee colony. Oil and Honey is not a gloom-and-doom haranguing of our carbon-addicted culture or a liberal’s citing of “green” propaganda; it is merely a frank account of the End Of Nature author’s last three years, spent gaining education on some scary environmental concerns. (Among those concerns, carbon in our atmosphere passing 350 parts per million, because, after that, scientists argue, we’re toast!).

With an engaging narrative voice, McKibben segues smoothly from lightly anecdotal to a layman’s layout of scientific minutia. The author recounts how he and fellow Vermonter, Kirk Webster— a resolute-yet-frustrated veteran beekeeper — sweated through the hottest year on record (2010), spurring them to action.

Webster sets out to start a chemical-free apiary, cultivating sustainable beekeeping practices. Meanwhile, McKibben calls for “divesting” from industrialized, fossil-fuel production with his crusade against the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed transporter of oil from the tar sands and oil-rich shale of Calgary, Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Arctic ice sheets deplete the heat and the seas warm and rise, leading to extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, which crashed into Long Island Sound and the New Jersey shore; McKibben effectively documents how things can only get worse.

Simultaneously a playbook of modern nonviolent resistance and a charismatic underdog story to save the world, it reminds us we’re all connected: a fragile planet of politicians, polluters, protesters and pollinators. 


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation