A Return to 350

By Cheryl Mahoney

I love following up on stories, especially when they have amazing results!  We’re four days out from the International Day of Climate Action, and the obvious question is…how did it go?

Very, very well.

350 - 4

350.org is reporting that there were more than 5,200 events.  All call for serious action on climate change, taking steps to bring the number of CO2 particles in the atmosphere back down to 350 parts per million (from its current 387 ppm).   It’s exciting to consider that that’s 5,200 events, not 5,200 people.  Maybe some people were having events by themselves, but I think it’s safe to say the vast majority involved multiple people–and some of them a large number of people.  If I find an estimate on number of people involved, I’ll let you know.  And of course, people reached would be even higher, with coverage on major news sources all over the world.

The part I’m enjoying most right now are the pictures.  People all over the world have submitted pictures of themselves with the number 350–or as the number 350.  One popular trend was to get enough people together, standing in pattern to form the numbers.  More than 19,000 photos have been submitted so far (my compliments to whoever’s organizing those!)  If I had infinite time, I’d just sit here and scroll through pictures for hours.  Even with my very finite amount of time available, it’s a tempting idea.  But I’ll settle for just pointing you to some favorites I found with just a few minutes of hunting.

You can check out some very talented kayakers near the Golden Gate Bridge, or some amazing skill with formation in Germany.  They’re rivaled by a starburst formation in Mexico.  There were pyrotechnics going on in Australia, and don’t miss the message from some elephants in Botswana.  And after all my comments about there being no events in Antarctica, I’ve been proven wrong: someone was climbing a mountain with a 350 sign.  (It wasn’t actually on the day…but I think we can stretch the point.)

So everyone had their events and took their pictures and that brings us back to the question…now what?  Well, now the 350 team is heading to Barcelona to attend a negotiating session leading up to Copenhagen’s climate conference, and taking a lot of evidence of support with them.  And plans are in the works for more actions heading into Copenhagen.  And trees can still be planted, and habitats can still be protected.  So personally, to the question “now what,” I’d have to answer…now we enjoy that there was a great day bringing awareness to a big problem, and then let’s carry on with the work to be done, getting those CO2 particles returned to 350 ppm.

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