10/10/10

7347 reasons to be grateful (from Bill McKibben)

Dear Friends, How do you say 'thank you' 7,347 times?

People got to work yesterday in at least that many places around the world -- the planet has never seen anything quite that widespread. Or quite that beautiful.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to visit 350.org to look through some of the thousands of pictures that we have managed to sort through so far:

View the Slideshow here

And if you haven't sent in your photos yet, now's the time: here's how to submit your photos here

We're looking forward to reading your reports over the next few weeks, and we'll be in touch with next steps and ideas. And in a few days, well send along a video of a few of the day's highlights that you can share with friends.  But today is a day for you to mostly just feel good.

We know we can't build the movement we need on just one day--but 10/10/10 made the foundation for our fight much larger and much stronger. And your message is getting out to media and politicians alike--we've already seen your work party photos in newspapers and on television shows all over the planet.

We hope 10/10/10 left you feeling connected with people all across this beautiful globe. You are helping shape the future of this planet, and we are deeply grateful for everything you do.  "Thank you" doesn't seem nearly strong enough.

Onwards, always,

Bill McKibben for The 350.org Team

P.S. 10/10/10 isnt the end of our work this year, and its vital that we keep the pressure on world leaders in the coming days and weeks.  We could use more phone calls to let politicians know we expect them to lead the fight on the climate crisis.  Please take a few mintues today to make a quick call by using our easy call-in gadget--our leaders won't hear our message if we don't send it to them.

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350.org is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is an independent and not-for-profit project.

What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.

What is a Person to DO??

Just returned from a conference on climate change in Toronto. Excellent workshops & speakers & later also some time spent chatting & strategizing with fellow activists (some of whom I’d known before the conference, plus a couple new acquaintances).

Bought a copy of Eaarth – Making Life on a Tough New Planet, by Bill McKibben – long-time environmental activist/writer & founder of 350.org & now major push behind 10/10/10 - "Global Work Party."

If there is one book you really ought to read right about now, it’s this one. It’s chockfull of wildly sobering facts about climate change & what needs to be done about it. McKibben has me thoroughly on-side with his view that from here on in, we must learn to deal with a changed Earth. It simply isn’t the place it used to be – between one thing & another, with climate change in a starring role – & so there isn’t much point in making plans the way we used to, for a place that has changed – & is changing utterly, as we speak.

Also watched a short film called “Climate Change: Does anybody care if Bangladesh drowns?” – & I’ll write more about that another day (you can watch the film free at that link I just gave you, btw...).

The main thing I want to say right now is this:

The question “What is a person to do??” is one that rings inside my own head often. Well, daily. Or even moment-ly, you might say.

Those of us who are activists feel as though we really need to clone ourselves. There is just so very, very much that needs doing. (And still so many folks caught in that deer-in-the-headlights stunned immobility stance.)

As previously referenced, I’m an addictive reader. Another book I gobbled up on the weekend (for relief, I suppose, from the so-sobering facts about climate change), was Grace (Eventually) – Thoughts on Faith, by American writer Anne Lamott, another of my very favourite writers. I’d read this one before, but it was a perfect time to re-read it, & I did, with great enjoyment, amusement, & appreciation.

In the essay ‘Bastille Day,’ Lamott tells about her cool idea (in 2006) for a Bastille Day event.(1) She’d floated the idea on Salon (an entity about which I am ignorant; one can only keep up with so many things, hmm?) & had talked about it some during a book tour. As she put it in the essay, “In the Spring of 2006, I believed that good people who had watched their country’s leaders skid so far to the triumphal right would want to do something. I mean, wouldn’t they? Otherwise, those people’s children would ask them someday, when we would all be living in caves, “What did you do to try to save us?” And the children would be angry, and …”

But when July 14th arrived, as it turned out, Lamott herself really didn’t feel up to the revolution. She’d kind of run out of steam, & besides, hadn’t actually coordinated with any local friends, & so decided to take a pass but after watching CNN for a while, she became “agitated.”

And as she tells it, “And then I did the single most important thing one can do to save the world: I got up off my butt.”

And went downtown & stood on the sidewalk for a few hours with a placard that read “One People. One Planet. One Future.”

God I love reading this woman!! Her writing is brilliant. She is laugh-out-loud funny, wondrously compassionate and searingly honest – about herself, which turns out to mean she exposes the nasty underbelly we all have. And then you don’t feel so bad about your own all-too-numerous faults & failings.

But back, finally, to the question raised by this post.

What is a person to DO?

Why, get up off your butt, of course!

Janet

P.S. You could definitely become involved in the 10/10/10 initiative. The idea behind this is to DO some practical things on October 10, 2010, that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions & demonstrate to our “leaders” that we the people (all over the world) are taking action, so we can then ask them “What are YOU doing??” & put their feet to the fire so they start to do what needs to be done!

P.P.S. The 10/10/10 site will give you plenty of ideas. Here are a few that flew right off my pen onto the page as I was drafting this post:

  • Plant a tree (or a whole bunch of them. Maybe 350??)
  • Put up a wind turbine or solar panels
  • Plan & construct a bike path
  • Sell your gas guzzler
  • Buy a transit pass
  • Buy a bike
  • Cut your electricity consumption – at home, at work, at church…wherever!
  • Write to a politician or better yet, politicians at every level of government
  • Become politically active!!!!! Ensure that candidates of integrity are elected
  • Distribute brochures about something to family members if, like me, you’re Canadian & will be seeing family for Thanksgiving dinner on October 10th – I’ll be distributing ones about OntariosGreenFuture.ca, from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (I’ll do other stuff too – but this one is so simple I can’t say no to it!!)
  • Donate money toward groups working to shut down the Alberta tar sands [this post lists & links to numerous short films about the tar sands]
  • Organize a public event…boycott…whatever…

(As you can see, the possibilities here are truly infinite!!)

‘Quote of the day’ w. this post: “If the people lead, eventually, the leaders will follow.” – Source unknown


(1) Inspired by a novel her father had written, The Bastille Day Parade, in which he’d had protesters use the slogan, “Turn off the Lie Machine.” Wow. Gotta love that line!!

Tell World Leaders to Go Solar!

<from Bill McKibben of 350.org & 10/10/10 on July 9th> Dear Friends:

As you all know, we're getting to work on 10/10/10 -- all around the world people are preparing climate solutions projects for their communities, their mosques and churches and synagogues and temples, their schools and homes.

We thought our leaders should have a chance to get personally involved too, which is why we're today launching a special campaign <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=cJ5qsD7vsheq6JZou8rp4XG4eeHcJqiG>  aimed just at them. Each one has a roof over their heads -- in India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan; in Mexico they call it Los Pinos, and in Washington it's the White House.

Those roofs need solar panels -- and we hope they'll go up on October 10, just as around the world people are taking practical action in their own communities. It's remarkably easy to send a message to your leader--just click here for instructions: <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=uIQXioMTzuFkONbl9%2BSCLHG4eeHcJqiG>

http://www.PutSolarOn.It <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=vGubicbOobZ8hlNAT5mx%2B3G4eeHcJqiG>

Those solar panels won't be enough solve climate change, obviously.  But they'll send a strong symbolic message about what the future demand -- and maybe our leaders will see how easy it is to start down a greener path. If they hammer in a solar panel, perhaps they'll feel more committed to hammering out some clean energy legislation.

We're a little worried, of course, that our leaders will use their new solar panels to claim that they're sincere about climate change without passing the legislation and enacting the regulations that really matter -- none of us wants to be used for a photo opportunity. Instead, the message we'll all be sending is: you've taken symbolic action, so now get to work on the real thing.

But the symbolism is important too. Just imagine: 30 years ago the American White House actually did have solar panels on the roof, installed by president Jimmy Carter. But they were taken down by the next administration, and they've never reappeared. That represents three wasted decades when we could have been doing something about the climate crisis -- we'll never get those decades back, but we can start to catch up now.

So while you're rounding up your neighbors for your own 10/10/10 action, invite the person in charge of your nation to join you on that day. Remind them that one answer to our greatest crisis is directly above their heads. Tell them to roll up their sleeves and get to work!

Bill McKibben for the whole 350.org team

P.S. Good news already! Just as we're launching this campaign, President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldives confirmed he'll be up on his roof on 10/10/10, installing a solar array. Who's next?

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You should join us on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at facebook.com/350org  <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=xUCJUnbMaKuIhk%2BbxZ2qYMXYR3%2F%2BlZto> and follow us on twitter by visiting twitter.com/350 <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=HK2ZzWpavQvkJXF4371L1XG4eeHcJqiG>

To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit www.350.org/signup <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=gWVCY%2F3EoLi6LhM3za%2F6SnG4eeHcJqiG>

350.org needs your help! To support our work, donate securely online at 350.org/donate <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=VC4PI3rBCpPiDoJH13Q4ZHG4eeHcJqiG>

350.org is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is an independent and not-for-profit project.

What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.

10/10/10 (R U ready to get to work?)

Bill McKibben was one of the many amazing & super-inspiring speakers at the recent conference of the Network of Spiritual Progressives in Washington, D.C.

McKibben is a household name to environmental activists. He’s an author, activist & the founder of 350.org I’ve been a Bill McKibben fan for years.

He’s a great speaker! He comes across as very down-to-earth, modest & plain-speaking. But also intelligent as heck. Very funny, too, which never hurts!!

He told us all about how 350.org got going, how it spread globally like a lovely virus, & what a successful phenomenon the October 24, 2009 events proved to be. 5200 events in 181 countries. Not too shabby at all!

The 10/10/10 event this year is to be a “global work party” – on October 10th. On this day (a Sunday), people all over the world will work on projects aimed at tackling climate change.

All over the world, people will do stuff like install solar panels, build bike paths, work on community gardens, etc. etc. etc.

We will say to our politicians “We’re getting busy. Where are you?”

Please plan to take part! But don’t wait until October. There’s no time like the present!!

Janet

'Quote of the day' w. this post: Thomas Berry on the environmental crisis: “It is something like being in a lifeboat. There may be problems of distribution of food, there may be people that need medical care, but if something happens to the boat, the boat has to be taken care of immediately or else everything else becomes irrelevant.”