350.org — a Global Grassroots Movement to Solve the Climate Crisis

350.org LogoMy introduction to 350.org was the International Day of Climate Action held on October 24, 2009. 350.org organizers around the world coordinated 5,200 simultaneous rallies and demonstrations in 181 countries.

350.org International Day of Climate Action in My Town

International Day of Climate Action at Author's Local Park - Photo: Catherine Ryan HydeI found out about the International Day of Climate Action via our small town newspaper bulletin board section which said there would be a 350.org event at a nearby park. It sounded interesting and fun so that Saturday we walked from our house to the park.

Author's Monterey Pine Tree

Local musicians entertained the crowd as we sampled goodies from the bake sale and browsed the booths showcasing local agriculture, transit options, and green products and services. We purchased two Monterey Pine trees in 5-gallon containers to plant in our yard, where they are both flourishing 3 years later. The last event of the day was a group photo—that’s us in the back on the gazebo steps.

On that Saturday, I had no idea we were participating in an enormous worldwide event. Later when I went to the 350.org website to learn about the organization, I was awestruck by the hundreds of photos people had submitted from all over the world. A few are shown in this post.

350.org Organization

350.org is a nonprofit organization founded by Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist, activist, and scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont, along with 7 (now former) Middlebury students May Boeve, Jamie Henn, Jeremy Osborn, Jon Warnow, Phil Aroneanu, Will Bates, and Kelly Blynn.

What’s in a Name?

350.org is an apt name for a climate change organization. In order to preserve life on earth, scientists say we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of around 392 parts per million (ppm) to below 350 ppm. Thus the number 350 became the name of the organization.

Mission

“350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.”

Campaigns & Projects

At any given time, 350.org has various campaigns and projects in progress. A few highlights are listed below.

  • 2007 – For the Step It Up campaign, 2,000 rallies were held in the U.S. as a means to convince political leaders to adopt policies that would result in cutting carbon emissions 80% by 2050.
  • 2009 – The International Day of Climate Action was held just prior to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in hopes of influencing global leaders to take action on climate change.
  • 2010 – Over 7,000 climate solution projects, such as installing solar panels and planting community gardens, were completed during the Global Work Party campaign. The message sent to global leaders was, “We’re getting to work, so should you”.
  • 2011Moving Planet was a day of action, literally, as people walked, cycled, and danced across the globe to tell our leaders we need to move beyond fossil fuels.
  • 2012 – The Connect the Dots campaign showed the impact of the climate crisis on people around the world.
  • 2013 – Coming up on Sunday, February 17, the Forward on Climate rally will be held in Washington D.C. to encourage President Obama to begin his 2nd term with a strong climate action stance. This is a joint effort of 350.org, the Sierra Club, and the Hip Hop Caucus.

Website

The 350.org website provides information about the organization, its campaigns and projects, climate science, and resources like how to organize a local event. Visitors can make a donation, purchase 350.org gear, or sign up to join the movement. The multimedia section contains links to photos, videos, and presentations. Below is one of my favorite videos.

Resources:

Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

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