This Saturday marks a turning point for the Bay Area's sustainability movement. 350.org, the world's leading organization in raising awareness and inspiring action around climate change, is hosting their annual day of action this Saturday, September 24th. The previous events both set records for the largest coordinated day of political action in the world's history; last year's event alone, hosted on 10/10/10, consisted of over 7,000 work parties held in 188 countries. 350 has obviously tapped in to the world's passion regarding the imminent threat of climate change and the dire need to do something about it -- together. This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people will be convening for rallies big and small across the world. As the most forward-thinking region in America, the world's biggest contributor to climate change, people all over the world will be looking to the Bay Area to produce a big showing, to let them know that Americans are paying attention. It's one thing to be graced with the flattering title of America's Greenest City; it's another to show up and stand with the rest of the world on our generation's most important issue.
Lucky for us, the good people at 350 have been working for months now planning our contribution to this historic day. Fitting with the theme of this year's event, Moving Planet, the organizers envision a great migration of peoples from around the Bay Area to our city's Civic Center. Everything has been set up to allow our region to produce a great showing. From the regional gathering events around the Bay Area to the permits for the parade down Market Street and rally in Civic Center to the incredible lineup of speakers including Bill McKibben of 350 and the Sierra Club's Executive Director Michael Brune, a tireless group of volunteers has made it possible for us to stand tall with our brothers and sisters around the world with an event as powerful as any on this day. But the organizers can only set the stage and clear the streets -- it is up to us, the concerned everyday citizen, to fill them up again.
I've written before about the responsibility we carry as residents of the Bay Area in the face of our planetary crises. Never is this responsibility so glaring as on days like this Saturday; when people around the world stand together in the face of climate change, it is understood that if we in America don't stand with them, the battle is a losing one. If the Bay Area does not lead the way, America will never join the fight.
Days like Saturday don't come around very often. Rarely do we have a chance to catch a glimpse of what the future holds. Will we be able to stop the planet's warming, to stem the rise of the seas, reverse the systematic destruction of the biosphere, and rescue a sane, sustainable future for humankind? Or will we spiral into further crisis, ignoring all the warning signs as we convince ourselves it's all someone else's problem?
One of these days we'll learn that we have a choice in this matter. In fact, as Jean Paul Sartre recognized, we have no choice but to choose. We either choose to stand up to Climate Change and the other planetary crises, to right the wrongs we've been handed, or we don't. We either choose to show up to Move the Planet with the rest of the world on Saturday, or we choose not to. There is no other option. Whatever you choose, know that it will not be forgotten by those to come. They will either remember you as someone who fought for life against the greatest odds, or someone who simply neglected your most fundamental responsibility -- to pass the world on to the next generation. As for me? I'm a fighter. I'll see you in the streets.
To participate in Moving Planet show up at Justin Herman Plaza at 12 noon to join the parade down Market Street. Parade commences at 12:30 pm and leads to a rally in Civic Center starting at 1:20 pm. The rally ends around 2:20 pm and is followed by a peace rally organized by the National Organization of Women, featuring more inspiring speakers and uplifting music.
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