When we first started thinking about forming an international climate campaign, we thought the biggest challenge would be language. With everyone on the planet insisting on speaking different languages, how could a unifying message link our efforts together?
Language turned out to be the easiest part. First, we sat around a Vermont coffeeshop & thought about all sorts of slogans that would define the global climate movement. After a lot of heated debate, we realized we could convey both the urgency of climate destabilization and the global scale of our movement with not a word, but a number: 350.
350 is what scientists say is the safe upper limit of carbon in the atmosphere. It's a symbol of a world where murderous heat waves, and massive floodings, and Oil spills large and small aren't the new norm -- as well as a vision of a more just and whole planet we can build together.
We gave it a try, and set out to actually organize with people all across the globe, most of whom we had never, and probably will never, actually meet. And even through we coordinated what CNN called the most widespread day of action last year, and got 117 countries to pledge the 350 target, that hasn't been enough to budge the biggest polluters so far.
If you're reading the leading analysts and nonprofit directors who are reflecting on the failure of the US to act on securing our planet's future -- they're almost all calling for a bigger and stronger climate & clean energy movement. They're right, and now it's time to get to work. All our historical examples of social movements rolled up their sleeves for the long haul, and that's just what the climate movement has to do now.
So even though we've lost momentum for political action for a spell, I feel it's time to seize the momentum to build that movement so many more of us are dreaming about; with a lot more power, with a lot more anger, and with a lot more love.
Today's a special day on the movement building journey that started in that coffee-shop with a few college friends a short 2 1/2 years ago.
Today is August 10, or 10 August if you live outside the U.S. In numberical terms, it's 8/10/10, the 2 month countdown to 10/10/10, a date to once again showcase the global climate movement, and to launch & amplify the call to action in thousands of communities.
The concept is simple: get together with friends, family, neighbors, your book club: whomever defines community for you. Dedicate yourselves to improving your community that day, by getting your hands dirty cutting carbon emissions.
That means lots of things:
Harvesting community gardens to demonstrate local food solutions.
Hosting a bike-fixing workshops so you and your friends drive less.
Paint your roof white to cool off without A/C.
Invite local green businesses to showcase how their getting to work.
Whatever you're doing, celebrate with music, food, dancing--whatever you'd like.
All of this will happen with the backdrop of a sharp political message. If we can work with our neighbors and rebuild our communities, then our political leaders can surely do what we hired them to do: pass the policies that will dramatically and immediately wean us off of fossil fuels.
Ready to make a movement real? Set to sculpt it to your vision for success? Get started today at 350.org/1010