Tuesday, November 30, 2010

350 in Sudan (posted many weeks later)

Yesterday, 10.10.10, was a special day in our lifetimes, we’ll only see 11.11.11 and 12.12.12. My Facebook was bombarded with people simply stating 10.10.10 in their statuses. Millions were celebrating this day, but a certain virtual organization specializing in environmental-campaigning has declared this day “special” a very long time ago!

350, an ongoing online international campaign to create momentum and formulate a movement of people demanding climate change justice and solutions by governments and through community work, has grown at an alarming rate over the last two years. This year, on the 10th of October 2010, millions of environmentally conscious people in 188 different countries organized more than 7300 events. Events attracted thousands around the world, hundreds were organizing in Vermont while 10 people got together in Khartoum to support the cause and state their pledges to combat climate change.

Why 350?

It started out as a walk against global warming in Vermont, a small state in the US, organized by environmental activist and writer, Bill McKibben. A Harvard graduate, McKibben is internationally known as a writer on climate change, alternative energy and the need for localized economies.

The organization’s name is based on a statement made by climate scientist James Hansen statement in winter 2008 when he declared that any atmospheric concentration of CO2 above 350 is unsafe. 350 is the safe upper limit, we are currently hovering at 390 ppm.

Recent environmental catastrophes (floods, increasing temperatures that have led to melting of Arctic glaciers, etc) have led many experts and scientists to conclude that at the current level, our planet and us are far from safe.

Last year, in October 2009, the organization was able to mobilize millions to create what the CNN called the ‘most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history’ with 5200 rallies and demonstrations in 181 countries. Foreign Policy took notice and called it “the largest global coordinated rally of any kind”.

What is happening?

Although the year 2010 has been anything but effective in the climate change battle, with the failure of COP15, 350 continues to mobilize supporters around the world.
10/10/10 was declared as “global work party”, individuals in different corners of the world planted trees, installed solar panels and participated in a number of environmentally conscious activities.

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