09/23/2011 04:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Moving Planet Begins Around the World

For me, it’s the closest thing to Christmas come early.

For three years now has coordinated giant worldwide rallies -- CNN has called them ‘the most widespread days of political activity in the planet’s history,’ involving every nation but North Korea.

But if you think it gets old, you think wrong. The first pictures from this year’s Moving Planet-extravaganza are starting to stream in from those places where the Saturday sun has already risen, and they are as stunning as ever.

In Tonga, villagers are gathering on their sinking coastline for a dawn ceremony to bless the day. Nearby in Tuvalu, people are preparing for a day of swimming lessons and disaster drills to prepare for the sea level rise that's already inevitable (it will be up to us to make sure it doesn't get worse). And in Cairo, where it’s still Friday, but where they jumped the gun to take advantage of the traditional day of gathering, and are busy creating a huge human Nile, a flood of blue, swamping the main street.

More early photos have come in from Jaca, Spain, where some young cyclists are taking to the streets to promote alternative transportation: 

And from Andhra Pradesh, where local organizers met with the Chief Minister of the Indian state, the man in charge of setting policies for 76 million inhabitants that live there. 

Or here, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where Dojiwe the Elephant is helping lead an event with the Africa Center for Holistic Management:

It's glorious. And what’s most glorious about it is what it represents:  a movement. has some of the hardest working organizers on earth. But we can’t really organize thousands of events scattered across every country on the planet. It’s more like throwing a potluck supper: we say the date and the theme, and then everyone brings their best stuff.

Which means: no matter where on the planet you go there are now people who care enough about climate change to do a lot of work and a lot of planning; they’re able to summon their neighbors into action, and excite the local media, and draw local politicians. They’re campaigning for things that matter where they are: new bike paths, say, since transportation is a big focus of this week’s action. But they’re also, consciously, joining together with people all over the world to say: we’re absolutely determined to make real progress on climate change.

Sometimes that determination is desperate. In Tuvalu, today, they commemorated Moving-Planet day with evacuation drills, appropriate for an island too close to sea level for safety in our new world.

But always that determination is beautiful -- proof that people will stand up to money, will demand a working future. I’ll sit by the laptop the next two days, opening one present after another. Until each image appears on the screen, I won’t know quite what surprise is coming. But I know in what spirit it’s been given!