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International day of action heralds the emergence of a global grassroots climate movement

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The 350.org international day of
climate action this Saturday, was the second in a series of
ground-breaking, record smashing days of citizen action around the
world on climate change. It is simply amazing that the day of action
was only one part of a drumbeat of worldwide and local climate events
that have been building towards an enormous outpouring of climate
action and activism at the Copenhagen climate talks. This December 12th,
a huge and growing global movement made up of ordinary citizens in
almost every country in the world and international civil society will
send a resounding message to the world leaders and negotiators in
Copenhagen that the public is ready for them to sign a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty.

September 21st,
saw an wave of climate action, as local organizers around the world
held over 2,600 events in over 120 countries, where people gathered,
made noise to wake up the public to climate change, and called their
political leaders to demand action this December at the UN climate
talks in Copenhagen. Less than one month later, 13,599 bloggers from
156 countries, wrote about the need for climate action to a collective
audience of over 18 million people for Blog Action Day. This weekend, supporters of 350.org and of strong action on climate change organized over 5,200 events in 181 countries. Notice a pattern? 

Time is running out for action on climate change. Leading scientists
have been warning that climate impacts are accelerating. This year we
don’t have a movie like ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ raising awareness on
climate change and magazines popping out green issues. Yet, I am more
hopeful that we will see real action from world leaders than I have
been since I started following the issue of climate change. Why?

This year, we have seen the emergence of a global, grassroots
movement that is networked, coordinated and ready to take action on
climate change. Two years ago, I was a youth delegate to the
international climate talks in Bali. That year, we watched Al Gore and
the IPCC receive a Nobel Prize for their work on climate change. Yet,
George Bush was still president, Japan’s prime minister Fukuda presided
over a ruling LDP that opposed real climate targets, and magazines still equated climate action with changing lightbulbs.

The world is now aiming higher, with world leaders gathering in
Copenhagen this fall to hammer out an agreement, with grassroots
leaders working on climate change online and on-the-ground in over 181
countries.  One hundred and eighty-one countries. Think about it.
Nobody even agrees on how many countries there are in the world,
although the UN only recognizes 192 countries. Virtually every country
on Earth that exists and is connected to the outside world, had a group
participate in a day of action calling for world leaders to sign a
climate agreement around a scientific datapoint, the safe level of
carbon dioxide, 350ppm.

Amazingly, this day of action more than doubled the participation of the Global Wake Up Call on September 21st.
In one month and three days, the global climate movement hosted two
days of action, doubling their size and outreach. This is only one sign
of the emergence of a huge and growing movement. The TckTckTck campaign
barely existed a few months ago, but they were determined to pull
together the notoriously independent organizations making up global
civil society, into one campaign working together to get a global
climate treaty signed in Copenhagen. In a few short months and almost
three million supporters and over 200 organizations later, including
Oxfam, the Red Cross/Crescent, Greenpeace, CARE and so many more, they
are all working together to generate the global political will for
action.

Young people have also been leading, as two years ago I had just come from helping organize the Power Shift conference,
with 5,500 students coming to call for climate action in Washington DC.
Youth leaders gathered in Copenhagen and returned to their countries,
launching networks like the Indian youth climate network and the China Youth Climate Action Network and groups hosting their own Power Shift conference in Australia, the UK, and Canada.

So, what is next for this growing global movement? In December,
world leaders will gather in Copenhagen with a commitment to agree a
global deal on climate change. The public is expecting a deal, only the
political will is currently lacking. Building on the Global Wake Up call on September 21st  and the 350.org Day of Action on October 24, millions of people will take action on December 12
to tell world leaders it is time to sign. In countries across the
globe, individuals, organizations and community groups will sign a call
for a fair, ambitious, and binding deal to be agreed in Copenhagen.

At the 12th hour of the 12th day of the 12th month the world will come together in the massive Time to Sign action -– the most important global signing event for the future of the world.


The timing of the action is planned to take place exactly at the
midpoint of the Copenhagen climate talks. At this crucial moment,
amidst the culmination of years of preparation, organizing, and
negotiation around the globe, Time to Sign will send a simple, clear message to their leaders: It is time to sign a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty.

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