Y.E.C.A. Advocates and Bill McKibben “Do the Math”

Kaleb Nyquist and Curtis Witek of YECA talk with a reporter from NPR’s “This American Life” at 350.org’s “Do the Math” event in Chicago, IL Wednesday

Rolling in on Wednesday via sustainable bus, 350.org’s Do The Math tour made a stop at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood. Of course, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action was there to represent and learn.

Wearing our bright orange t-shirts, we took advantage of some of the idle time before and after the main presentation to network with other climate activists and communicate our message. A few of us were even interviewed by WBEZ’s This American Life (fingers crossed we make it onto the final edit!).

Citing historic lows in the polar ice caps, this summer’s drought in the Midwest, and the unprecedented strength of Hurricane Sandy, 350.org President and Co-Founder Bill McKibben told the audience “all we can talk about at this point is how we avoid complete and utter calamity.” Much of his presentation delved deep into his must-read article earlier this year in Rolling Stone magazine – an article so groundbreaking, that it got ten times the amount of attention as the cover story on Justin Bieber.

Divestment is a major theme of the Do The Math tour. Specifically, McKibben called on those in attendance to call on their churches and schools to make a two prong pledge – 1) a freeze on new fossil fuel investments, and 2) phase out existing investments in fossil fuels over the next five years. A video message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu played to remind the audience that this same strategy really worked to end apartheid in South Africa.

McKibben admitted that it taking on the fossil fuel industry felt a bit like a “David and Goliath” story. But then, with a rare peek into his personal life outside of climate activism, McKibben said “I’m a Methodist sunday school teacher…I know how this story turns out!”

Let us pray, like the David and Goliath story, this story too turns out to God’s glory.


The sustainable tour bus parked outside the Athenaeum Theatre.


Bill McKibben “does the math” for the audience.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu lends his voice to the carbon divestment movement.



YECAers (pictured l to r) Scott Kibler, Curtis Witek, Ben Lowe, and Kaleb Nyquist.

About Kaleb Nyquist

Kaleb Nyquist is the communications assistant for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. Kaleb is a graduate of North Park University (IL) with a double major in Global Studies and Conflict Transformation. In addition to his work with Y.E.C.A., he serves Ravenswood Evangelical Covenant Church in Chicago as the student ministries coordinator. He currently holds appointments to the Evangelical Covenant Church's "Long Road to Justice - CHIC 2015" team and to the Board of Directors of Covenant Pilgrimage, a forthcoming one-year college alternative and discipleship program. In his spare time, Kaleb likes to run, write, and travel.