While "let’s mitigate some carbon!" might not sound like the rallying cry of a generation, it should be: This weekend, that exclamation and others of a similar sentiment will be heard at nearly 3,000 locations worldwide. Following a call to action by 350.org, hundreds of thousands of environmentally-minded folks will gravitate to rallies to support efforts to mitigate the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 emissions. The goal is nothing less than to motivate our world’s leaders to step up and take legislative action.
350.org, an open-source campaign whose name reflects its mission to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm), declared this Saturday, October 24, the International Day of Climate Action. Communities all over the planet are encouraged to rally together and organize events at iconic locations that call attention to 350.org’s mission. They’ve asked assembly organizers and participants to creatively incorporate the number 350 into their event, take photos and then upload them to the 350.org Web site. 350.org plans to take all the photos and assemble them into a “gigantic, global, visual petition.”
Why the number 350? Scientists say that 350 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere is highest level at which we can still maintain humanity. Though carbon emissions have dropped over the past two years, carbon levels in the atmosphere still hover around 390 ppm, which most climatologists say is far too high. The first step to lower levels is stop releasing toxic levels of CO2 into the atmosphere. This means an immediate shift from fossil fuels to clean energy technology. According to the folks over at 350.org and plenty of scientists and environmental observers, this is not happening fast enough.
There's only one thing to do. People all over the planet and from all walks of human life will be out in full force tomorrow: Mountain climbers will hold up banners on some of the Earth’s highest, melting peaks; divers will hold underwater demonstrations in island water threatened by rising sea water levels, churches, mosques, synagogues, and ashrams will join in symbolic prayer, and people in cities from San Francisco to Tokyo will convene in an effort to get politicians to arrest CO2 emissions.
Interested in taking part? Check out 350.org for more information and assembly locations.
(I’ll be rallying here in Boulder, CO. If you’re in the Boulder area, the public gathering will begin at noon on the corner of Canyon and Broadway. Come show your support, get some information, calculate your carbon footprint, and hear some interesting speakers, including Boulder's U.S. congressional rep, Jared Polis.)
If you participate, please share your experience and thoughts on climate change with us here at BACKPACKER in the comments section below.