Letter from Bill McKibben - 350.org

We need you to read this closely, if you would.

You've always counted on us to tell the truth, and it would be useless to pretend we're happy with the outcome of the Copenhagen climate talks.

You'll likely hear the Copenhagen drama spun in a thousand different ways, but here's our honest take on the outcome: our leaders have been a disappointment, and the talks have ended without any kind of fair, ambitious, or legally binding global agreement.  It's unclear whether the weak "accord" which emerged early this morning will provide a platform strong enough to deliver the kind of action we'll need in 2010 and beyond.

That doesn't mean you have failed. On the contrary, the movement you have built around the world allowed everyone to understand the scientific issues at stake. Over and over in Copenhagen, UN delegates came up to anyone wearing a 350 t-shirt with words of wonder and gratitude. We were told repeatedly how much this movement has altered both the tone and substance of these negotiations.

For the first time since these climate talks began almost 20 years ago, a citizens' movement has made it much harder for the great powers to simply impose a weak agreement on everyone else-that's why the US, China, and India had to cut their own deal amongst themselves.  Many small nations, poor nations, and vulnerable nations simply refused to go along smoothly with a global suicide pact-because they knew that 350 equaled survival.

Indeed, that very chant--"Three-Five-Oh...Sur-vi-val!"--went up spontaneously among the crowd of hundreds of young people who gathered in the freezing cold at 1 a.m. under the subway stop outside the Bella Center, where the talks were being held in Copenhagen. They hadn't been allowed inside for days -- last night they came to stand outside and deliver the verdict from the movement: this is not enough, this is not over, and we are witnessing a monumental failure of leadership.

That failure can't be allowed to stand. It is our future, the future of every spot on earth and of every person in every generation to come. So we will together, in the weeks and months ahead, figure out how to build a stronger movement, one that will head this earth back where it needs to go. You'll hear from us in the weeks ahead with new ideas, and if you have some of your own please share them by e-mailing organizers@350.org.

We're approaching a period of holiday around much of the world, and when the new year dawns it won't be all that we'd hoped for. But we are confident, and that confidence comes from you. From every corner of the world, in places warm and cold, poor and rich, Muslim and Christian and Hindu and Buddhist and Jewish and none-of-the-above, we share one basic message: 350 equals survival, and we'll stop at nothing to get there.

On we go.

The 350.org team

Candlelight Vigil Update

From Bill McKibben, another email update on the candlelight vigils and current status in Copenhagen:

Dear Friends,
Thanks beyond thanks.

It's been a remarkable day for those of us here in Copenhagen, but mostly not because of anything happening at the climate conference.

Instead it's because of what you all did out in the rest of the world over the last 24 hours. We don't have a full count of vigils around the world, but in something like 3,000 cities and towns across the planet your vigils sent the most powerful of messages to the leaders here: stop playing games, and start protecting the planet. 

Here in Copenhagen, there were more than 100,000 people marching in the streets--99% of them peaceful and dignified--to call for climate solutions bold enough to meet the scale of the crisis. As the sun set on this city, thousands lit candles to stand in solidarity with those on the front lines of climate change--a moving and unprecedented moment in this movement.

We've already started to get your photos in front of world leaders and the global media assembled here.  If you haven't yet submitted your photos, videos, and stories, please do so just as soon as you can by visiting this link:


We're projecting the images on walls and screens all around Copenhagen, and starting Monday we'll be putting them to good use as lobbying tools for UN delegates from Argentina to Zimbabwe.

A wide network of allies and individuals helped pull this amazing feat off, and thanks to them--and all of you--our collective call to action is unavoidable.  More importantly, our message was clear: the world can't afford just any climate deal--we need a real deal that is fair enough to protect those bearing the brunt of climate impacts, is legally binding and enforceable, and is ambitious enough to get the world back on a path to 350.

While there's no guarantee that world leaders will pay attention to this call with the level of ambition that's required, we can guarantee that you've given this movement another boost at a crucial moment.

We'll be in touch in the coming days, but for now know that everyone here sends their deep thanks and love.

Bill McKibben for the 350 Team

P.S. If you have any trouble submitting photos from a vigil using our report tool, just attach your photos to an e-mail that you send to photos@350.org, and make sure to follow the instructions below:
- Add your photos as attachments (don't embed the photos, and please keep photos less than 3 megabytes)
- Use your city and country as the subject
- The body of your email will be the caption for your photos
- Include any photographer credits in the e-mail body/caption.
- Send your email to photos@350.org

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Sustainable Farming event rescheduled

Metacomet Land Trust has re-scheduled its program on Sustainable Farming due to the after effects of today's snow storm...

Please join us Wednesday, December 16th, at the Mendon Senior Center, 62 Providence Street, Mendon for this program with Carolyn and Rob Nicholson of Sweetwilliam Farm (Upton). Rob and Carolyn will discuss Sustainable Farming in our region.

Come hear the perspective of a practicing farmer when Rob and Caroline present our Annual Meeting program. We'll also discuss the important connection our land preservation efforts have to supporting agriculture in the region.

Metacomet's short annual meeting will begin at 6:30, followed by the program with Carolyn and Rob at 7:00. Please stay for refreshments and conversation after the program.

This program is free; a small donation is requested at the door.

Update from Copenhagen

To provide an update on the happenings in Copenhagen, here is the text of an email from Bill McKibben:

Dear Friends,
We know many of you are busy preparing for this weekend's vigils, and we know you're all hearing a lot about the climate talks in Copenhagen.

But since we're all working on the same team, we wanted to give you an inside/outside sense of all that's happening in one of the more important weeks in the history of this ball of rock and water we call the earth.

From inside Copenhagen, our crew (which at exactly 350 mostly young souls is reportedly the largest accredited delegation to the talks!) reports the following:
- It's cold and gray and the sun sets at 3:30pm, but exciting to be in a world where everyone is focused on the climate. Sometimes, amongst all the wonderful activists from every corner of the world, you can really sense how the planet might come together.

- As of Wednesday evening, the 350 target is still in the treaty's "negotiating text." Our movement's lobbying efforts--both in the UN and around the world--might end up bearing fruit. Few negotiators have managed to avoid our briefing papers on the science of the 350, and many of them are showing their support in style with 350 ties and lapel pins. But the most persuasive lobbying tool has proven to be the photos--your photos--from the 350 events around the world.  Amidst all the compromises and politicking, seeing 350 as a possible element of a global climate treaty is a refreshing acknowledgement of the reality of physics and chemistry--and a crucial reminder of the bottom line for this whole elaborate process.
- More and more countries and leaders are using the 350 figure publicly. Bolivia stepped up to the plate and made the 350 target a main point of their opening statement; then Al Gore gave a remarkable speech saying no matter what happens we have to keep working till we get to 350. Yesterday in the New York Times, Thomas Lovejoy, one of the planet's great biologists, put it bluntly: "350 ppm--that is the upper limit for dangerous interference with ecosystems."  And it's sinking in.  Countries on the front lines of climate change--like small pacific islands and many drought-inflicted African countries--are taking stronger stances and refusing to accept the limp compromises currently on the negotiating table.  There is a growing understanding that simply getting a deal in Copenhagen is not the point--that any deal that does not point us towards 350 is, in a very real sense, a failure.
And a few updates from outside Copenhagen, where people all over the world are getting ready for this weekend's vigils:

- In the Netherlands alone, 447 churches will be ringing their bells 350 times this Sunday (here in Denmark there will be a huge church service at the main cathedral, with the Archbishop of Canterbury in attendance and with the bell tolling 350 times).  These are just a portion of the many "sounds of 350" events that people are registering for this weekend.

 - We're hearing about really beautiful vigils planned almost everywhere: bicycle caravans converging on the US embassy in Hanoi;  concerts in Bolivia and Caracas; a bridge of lights across the river in Portland, Oregon; women and girls gathering in Fiji to make "climate art" from recycled materials. And everywhere people will be shining light and hope into this troubled world: candles and high-efficiency LEDs in Cali and Wellington, Guadalajara and Sydney, on and on. In Hawaii, surfers will paddle out into the ocean with candles on their boards, and the sacred mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea framed in the background. And here in Copenhagen, we're working with our allies to help coordinate a candlelight vigil with Desmond Tutu and other prominent global leaders.  In no uncertain terms--and in visually striking ways--we'll demand a real deal from our leaders.  It's going to be beautiful.

Watch the blog, and the Facebook page, and the Twitter stream over the weekend for updates from everywhere. And we'll let you know as events unfold here in Denmark.

Don't get too excited, or too despairing, at any of the news reports coming out from the conference--remember, this is one stop on a long journey towards a just and working planet.

You are the people leading that journey, and we're profoundly grateful for it.

Bill McKibben for the 350 team, outside and inside Copenhagen

P.S. In addition to our blog and social media updates, we've put together a one-stop-shop to learn about Copenhagen and the role of 350.org--check it out at www.350.org/copenhagen

Would you pay more to reduce carbon?

I found this article in the Economist where they surveyed folks from 13 countries to see if they would be willing to pay more to reduce carbon and save the earth from dramatic climate change.
AROUND 100 world leaders are set to attend the UN climate-change summit in Copenhagen to discuss a global deal to replace the Kyoto protocol. This will be tough. Scientists estimate that greenhouse-gas emissions from rich countries need to be cut by 25%-40% to keep global warming to a 2ÂșC rise above pre-industrial levels. The offers at Copenhagen add up to around 15%, with America offering only around 4%. The cost of averting an even bigger rise in temperature is put at a relatively small 1% of global output—a price, it seems, that many people are happy to pay. In a poll for the World Bank, over 40% of people in 13 countries said they would be willing to pay this extra amount for energy and other goods to help tackle climate change. China is the keenest on spending more while Russians were most unwilling to fork out any extra.
 Click through to view the chart here

Candlelight vigil

For an alternative to the Boston event if you are looking for something a little closer to home, there is also a candlelight vigil planned in Attleboro on Friday Dec 11, 4:30-5:30 at the corner of County and S. Main Streets.

Invitation to Candlelight Vigil for Effective Climate Action – Boston Dec 11 6 PM

Friends, we are running out of time. The United Nations climate change conference in December will be the turning point in the fight for a safe climate. But even before the conference, President Barack Obama and the leaders of some other large nations have announced that they aren't going to reach any kind of legally binding climate agreement in Copenhagen--declaring that they need more time, despite the five years of preparation they've already had.

That's sad and it's dangerous--the planet is running out of 'next years'. But it does give all of us more time to organize a movement to make them respect the science. The planet doesn’t negotiate. We must convince the governments of the world to change our uses of nature to meet earth’s requirements for the planet to keep on hosting us like it has been doing.
So it's time for the next big steps. The world needs your help. You will need this to succeed.

There's a global mobilization coming together for the weekend in the middle of the Copenhagen conference--Dec. 11-13. Our collective message: "The World Wants a Real Deal" -- people all over the planet are demanding a binding global climate agreement guided by the latest science and built upon principles of justice and equity.

The global coordinator is www.350.org. The Massachusetts Council of Churches, Massachusetts Climate Action Network and several other organizations are sponsoring the Boston vigil on December 11 as part of this global mobilization.

Here in Boston, we will assemble for a candlelight vigil in Cardinal Cushing Park, next to Senator John Kerry's office. Sen. Kerry is leading the US delegation to the climate convention in Copenhagen. We’ve assured him, we support him – to do the right, and difficult, and necessary things.

Our goal is to focus Sen. Kerry’s attention on the urgent need for a science-based international climate treaty and on climate legislation in the U.S. that gets us back below an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 350ppm, the upper limit a stable earth environment can tolerate.

We will stand in solemn solidarity with the citizens of those nations who already die at an increased rate of 300,000 a year in (primarily) African countries and island nations because of climate change, and with citizens of big parts of America’s southeast who already face severe new hazards because of climate change.

What: Candlelight Vigil -- The World Wants a Real Deal
When: December 11th, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Cardinal Cushing Park, at Cambridge and New Chardon Streets.
How: Closest T stop is Blue Line Bowdoin Station coming in (closes at 6:30 PM). Government Center Station is 2/10 mile away. If you can, please bring your own candle and an empty 2-liter soft drink bottle “candle holder”.

Nice thank you

Steve Sherlock received the following thank you from Charles Adler for participating in the Attleboro 350 day on October 24th.

It was a good day!

some short circuits in the state's renewable energy plan

In the darkening recession, Gov. Deval Patrick and the Legislature have dialed back funding for education, social services and local aid. But energy efficiency and renewable energy development - promised as a salvation for economic growth - have been spared.
"We are in very difficult times, as you know, but we cannot afford to slow down or think small, especially in the clean energy field," Patrick told a conference of 400 energy entrepreneurs and investors in Boston earlier this month.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Foxboro's write up of October 24th

Better late than not at all they say! Here is a reproduction of the article that appeared in the Foxboro Reporter covering the FACT activities on October 24th. Our thanks to Stef for making the copy available.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Nicely done, thanks!

The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See 2

We posted the earlier video in August. This one is the follow-on or part 2 of the series.

Deep detail on the UN Climate Framework

From MCAN:

For policy wonks, news junkies and information gluttons - here is a link to the most recent UN Climate Framework negotiators draft being further negotiated by the "Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention", dated Sept 15, 2009 and incorporating results of the Bonn Germany meeting on August 10-14, 2009.  It is a PDF 181 pages long, with a table of contents that will allow you to locate the sections you are interested in reading.  A Wall Street Journal article I just saw at Google News, that editorializes utter doom if anything like the draft is passed, included the link to what it was against.  Cautious about possible misrepresentation of what the document is, I checked from the UNFCCC main page,
and it does represent the current starting point for negotiations.  The UNFCCC website offers a vast array of other information and documents as well, some of them historical and some of them current, and an inspiring main page, organized under confusingly-named acronyms for which there is beginner's cheat sheet document.  The current negotiations draft document web address is:

Pinch hitter delivers the Climate Action pitch

This was recorded at the Attleboro 350 event on 10/24/09. The speech had been prepared by Ted McIntyre. When Ted landed in hospital, Steve Sherlock stepped up to deliver the speech on his behalf.

Time: 25 minutes, 25 seconds

MP3 File

Bell ringing for 350

"Members of the First Univeralist Society in Franklin, Massachusetts ring their historic bell 350 times in honor of the October 24 Global Warming Action Day."

A picture of the group ringing the bell:

Thank you!

Thank you -- together, we made history.

Dear friend,

Today in New York was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
As I stood in Times Square and watched images flood in from every corner of the world on the big screens, I finally saw what a climate movement looked like -- and it looked diverse and creative and beautiful.
A Note About Photo Uploads
If you haven't done so already, please send your action pictures to photos@350.org so we can share your story--with the media, with world leaders, and with our entire network on our website's slideshow on the homepage of http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=8G6H8Itmysvb9JjdtGA6bejO%2BDrY29CN
Here's how your photo-submission e-mail should look:
Subject: City, Country
Body: Photo description/caption--please include the location of the photo and include a photographer's credit if necessary.

If you have video from your action, please visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=mNsG13oqr4BTH344XHHh7ejO%2BDrY29CN so we can incorporate it into a final video that sums up the story of this amazing day.

Please head to www.350.org and spend a few minutes watching the pictures. We need you to feel the strength of this movement, and to see how creative and committed this movement is, all across the planet. 

It was so sweet to watch the day move around the globe, with thousands upon thousands of pictures appearing, sometimes a dozen a minute! There were photos of climbers high on the glaciers of Switzerland holding 350 banners, of bicycle parades from Copenhagen to San Francisco, of organizers in Papua New Guinea beating their church gong 350 times while churches in Barcelona rang their bells 350 times. Photos of activists protesting coal plants and celebrating wind farms, of students in 350 shirts repairing their flooded homes in Manila, and of thousands of people marching in the streets of Bogota and Kathmandu. Photos of people from different races and classes, religions and nationalities, coming together around a simple and powerful number to save our planet. Thousands took to the streets in Addis Ababa and Mexico City; we had huge parades in places like Togo and Seattle.

You were by far the biggest news story on Google, on CNN, on the front pages of newspapers around the planet.  And these pictures were seen around the world, in newspapers from Beijing to Boston, on TV stations from New Delhi to New York, and on blogs, social networks, and websites across the internet.

Together, we've shown the world that a global climate movement is possible and set a bold new agenda for the upcoming United Nations Climate Meetings in Copenhagen this December. The 350 target is the new bottom line for climate action and world leaders must now meet that target.

We thought we would be tired after many sleepless nights planning this day, but in fact we're more energized than ever. We're preparing to deliver the photos and messages from your events to every national delegation to the United Nations on Monday, and planning to hand the photos to high-level ministers at upcoming climate negotiations in Barcelona and Copenhagen. So if you haven't uploaded your best pictures from the event yet, please do so right away by sending us an e-mail to photos@350.org with your photos attached, with your City, Country as the subject and the body as the action description.

Thank you more than we can possibly say.
We'll (of course) be asking you to do lots more in the weeks ahead -- but today, lean back, relax, look through pictures at 350.org, and savor your accomplishment. You were part of what many journalists called "the most widespread day of political action the world has ever seen."

Together with millions around the world, you made a real difference already -- get ready to make much more in the days, weeks and months to come.

With hope,

Bill McKibben and the whole 350.org Team
P.S. As always, we ask that you share this movement any way you can--just telling all your friends and family and colleagues (and Facebook friends and Twitter followers in just a couple of clicks) to visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=J3Ivz0MxZK609j%2BxqoptXOjO%2BDrY29CN is a great way to start.  So many thanks for all that you do.

You should join us on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at facebook.com/350org and follow us on twitter by visiting twitter.com/350

To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2BECgCAgkldNWu3aqko0jRejO%2BDrY29CN

350.org needs your help! To support our work, donate securely online at 350.org/donate

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350.org is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is an independent and not-for-profit project.

What is 350?
350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.

Pinch hitter delivers the pitch on climate change

Steve Sherlock stood in for Ted McIntyre to deliver a talk on climate change and a call to action at the Brennan Middle School yesterday in Attleboro.

The Attleboro Sun Chronicle provided coverage of the event in Sunday's edition

ATTLEBORO - When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the atmosphere's carbon dioxide levels were at 278 parts per million (ppm), the level they had been at for about 10,000 years, according to Steve Sherlock from the Franklin area climate team.

Today, the level has reached 387 ppm and is growing 2 ppm a year, Sherlock said. If nothing changes, by the end of the century, Sherlock said, the gas levels could be up to 550 ppm.
Read the full article here.

The Attleboro Area Climate Day website is here. You can view a photo of the group lined up to show 350!

The photos Steve Sherlock took of the event are in the following slideshow:


Climate call to action! Ted McIntrye's speech 10/24/09

Thanks to you all for taking time from your busy Saturday to come here. But busy as we all are, you are right to MAKE the time to be here, because fighting climate change is the most important job we all have.  

We are here today to join our voices in a call for strong and urgent action against climate change. And believe me our leaders will listen when we make some noise!   

How many of you want to stop global warming?  (yay)

And when do want to stop it? (now)

And we are not alone in making noise. At more than 4000 other rallies in 170 countries around the world other people are doing the same thing as we are.

Please listen carefully, because in a few minutes, we will discuss some very specific things you can do to make even more noise when you get home.

Many of you are well aware of the threat posed by climate change. Most of you know that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is increasing, because we human are burning gas, coal and oil to generate our energy.  You know that the extra carbon dioxide we have added to the air is capturing extra sunlight and that this extra heat is already warming the planet 

  • disrupting our weather patterns, 
  • melting glaciers, 
  • causing drought and 
  • fueling more intense storms.  
You know that if we continue to emit carbon dioxide, our children and grandchildren will face a world of less food, less clean water, flooded metropolises and new diseases.  

Fighting climate change now is an immediate moral imperative, because the decisions we make in the next 2 or 3 years, indeed in the next two or three months!

  • decisions about how we will heat our homes, 
  • what cars we will drive 
  • what food we will eat- and most importantly
  • whether we will speak out at the critical moment 
These decision will profoundly and irreversibly affect the lives our children lead in the year 2050.  

Let’s think about what makes up the air. Air is about 78% nitrogen, and  21% oxygen. The element argon is about 1%, and then there are small amounts various gases that make up the rest. Carbon dioxide is one of those, a small but important component of the air.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the amount of CO2 in the air was only 278 ‘parts per million’ (ppm is a kind of percentage and 278 ppm is about ¼ of one tenth of a percent), When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, that 278 ppm of CO2 had been constant for about 10,000 years.  

Just think what that 10,000 years means. All human civilization, 
from Buddha to Beethoven, 
from the cave men to Shakespeare, 
from the Pharohs to the Parthenon to the British Parliament, 
developed in a relatively mild earthly climate supported by a constant level of 278ppm of CO2.

Today,  a mere 200 years into the industrial revolution, the level of CO2 is about 387, and increasing 2ppm each year. And if we do nothing, by the end of this century  we could be way up at 550. The increase in the CO2 amount has been sudden, large, and rising fast!

That number of possibly 550ppm by the end of the 21st C is interesting. When scientist first started doing computer models of climate change in the late 1980’s, 550  was double Thomas Jefferson’s ‘pre-industrial’ carbon level, was easy to use in computer models, and it was conveniently 100 years in the future.  

In the 1980s,  the computer models predicted that the arctic ice caps would melt late in the century. As more and more worrying information came in, scientist began to focus on using 450 PPM as the ‘dangerous level’ of CO2 in their computer models, and the results predicted the icecaps would melt in mid century around 2050. 

Then came 2007, and the summer time arctic polar ice cap  almost disappeared. 

Scientists were stunned. 

The new prediction is that the north pole might be ice free in the summer of 2012. Scientist’s original predictions were incorrect by a century. The predictions are coming to pass much earlier than expected! 

The message of today’s rally is that damaging climate change is happening much sooner than the scientists thought. It is happening now.  Glaciers around the world are melting. Storms are becoming more intense. Drought is ravishing Australia.

Jim Hansen, the famous NASA Scientist who was one of the first to recognize the reality of climate change, wrote a landmark paper in 2007. His team combined the results of computer models with evidence from a couple of million years ago, the last time the CO2 levels was above 350. They concluded that “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted…CO2 will need to be reduced….to at most 350ppm.” 

This is a very stark and scary statement…. If humanity wants to preserve a planet ..to which life is adapted , the air must have less than 350ppm of CO2.
Wait a minute… didn’t we just say the air already has more than 387PPM? Almost to 390?  Can it be true that we are already almost 40 points past the level that supports civilization? Are you kidding me? 

NO… our current situation is dire!

These are sobering numbers, but put into perspective why we are here today. 

Today we need to talk about the most important number in the world.  
It has to be a number that affects everyone, for a long time and in a big way. 

350 is that number!

The most important number in the world is 350. It is so important I want you to say it back to me…. What is the most important number in the world? ……. 

Say it again!

350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—it's the number we need to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change 

Wow…that’s a big idea… Let me say it again, slowly!

350 is the number  that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—it's the number we need to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

And we already passed the 350 mark in 1989!!!

What is a ‘safe upper limit’ for carbon? It is easiest to see by analogy to medicine, where everyone knows about their cholesterol level or their baby’s temperature.  When your baby’s temp goes over 98.6 into the danger zone, you have a crisis and will do whatever it takes to bring that time down. 
We're like the patient that goes to the doctor and learns his cholesterol is too high. He doesn't die immediately—but until he changes his lifestyle, throws out the cheez wiz and the French fries,  and gets back down to the safe zone, he's at more risk for heart attack or stroke. The planet is in its danger zone because we've poured too much carbon into the atmosphere, and we're starting to see signs of real trouble: melting ice caps, rapidly spreading drought. We need to scramble back- to go on a carbon diet --as quickly as we can.

“350 is the safe upper limit to avoid ‘runaway climate change’”

What is ’run away’ climate change? Well, as we keep emitting CO2 into the air, we are essentially “driving blind”,  and setting up the conditions for events we cannot predict or control. We have put so much CO2 into the air that the frozen tundra in Siberia is melting and release methane.. or swamp gas. 

Now, methane gas is 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2. There is a lot of methane in the tundra in Siberia, way more than we humans release by driving cars.  It was hot in Siberia during 2007 and the level of this methane spiked. Play that forward in your head: when a hot summer in Siberia melts permafrost and releases methane, and that methane makes it hotter the next summer, which melts more permafrost and releases more methane, which make is it even hotter…. Well, it doesn’t take long to reach a ‘tipping point’ where human generated emissions become irrelevant, planetary forces start to release greenhouse gases on  their own and climate change becomes self sustaining. That is not a good scenario.  After that happens, it doesn’t matter what we humans do anymore. The climate has run away!

That is where we are- in the danger zone, almost 40 points above the safe limit. What can we do? 

We need to get back into the safe zone, below 350PPM as fast as we can. To do this, we need to lower our carbon emissions, dramatically. In order to get back into the safe zone, we need to transform the world’s economy away from the use of fossil fuel,  and begin generating megawatts of wind and solar power, as well as ‘nega-watt’ of energy efficiency.  Then the natural processes that take carbon out of the atmosphere can slowly do their work to bring us back into the safe zone.

How can we do this? The answer is simple, but not easy. 

ON a personal level, we can start this process by - taking responsibility for the carbon we produce.  Every light bulb, every gallon of hot water, every degree of heat, every mile of driving and every steak we eat generates CO2. We need to learn how to reduce these emissions in our personal lives. Use compact fluorescent lights, weatherize your home, buy clean energy. 

The Massachusetts Climate Action Network.org can teach you about the ‘low carbon diet’.    

Even more importantly, we need political action. 

What are the big political ideas that 350 forces us toward?

First: We must limit or “Cap” the amount of CO2 that America releases from burning fossil fuel. This is not so hard to do- but it involves putting a price on carbon.  Once we recognize and pay for the true cost of emitting CO2,  it will unleash the market to find newer, cleaner ways to generate and conserve energy, create jobs that cannot be outsourced and deny our enemies the steady flow of cash we send to unfriendly regimes.

Second:  We need an ambition, fair and binding international treaty to cap carbon at the global level. Europe, Japan, China, India all have enormous populations and different levels of development. We need to find a way to help the whole world develop using clean energy. This will take great leadership, the kind only the US can provide.

Now it just turns out that these big ideas have something behind them. 

Right now, in the US senate, there is a bill called the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act”, Which puts that all important price on carbon. It is referred to as the Kerry Boxer bill, after our own senator. This is a good bill, and needs our support.   It will create a market to generate clean energy, create jobs and improve our national security. But, it should come as no surprise, that some in congress want to weaken the bill. They want to take away the authority of the EPA to regulate carbon. We cannot let that happen. We want a strong bill that doesn’t muzzle the EPA.

But even more importantly, the passage of this bill demonstrates America’s commitment to fighting global warming. This is important because in December, in Copenhagen, a huge negotiation involving most of the countries of the world, will hammer out a global treaty to fight climate change. The Kerry Boxer bill will make the US a leader in these negotiations. We must hold our decision-makers accountable to producing a treaty that is strong, equitable, and grounded in the latest science, because while the nations of the world are talking to each other, the real deal will be made with the physics and chemistry of the planet. As you might remember from high school, chemistry problems don’t compromise!

And this is where we come in! We need to make some noise, to let the politicians know we are watching, and that we want action now. Are you ready to make noise?

Call your senator. It is easier than you think, and they are always very polite! They are impressed with phone calls, because it means you really care.

John Kerry’s number is 202-224-2742… Paul Kirks’  number is 202-224-4543.  Thank the senator for all his hard work, and tell him you support the climate bill. Tell him NOT to surrender the EPA’s right to regulate carbon. 

Call your congressman, Call the White House. Tell them you want a strong climate bill.

Call the white house, and tell them you want a strong climate bill. 

Here is cool thing you can do… call your friends and relatives in other states, especially in the mid-west, and urge them to call THEIR congressmen.

What is the most important number? 350

Do you want to stop global warming? (yay)

And when do want to stop it? (now)

Note: This was prepared by Ted McIntyre for his talk at the 350 event on 10/24/09. The talk was delivered by Steve Sherlock who stood in for Ted at the last minute.

Call to action - reduce carbon footprint - start today!

On this day, over four thousand events taking place simultaneously in over 175 nations will be held to raise awareness on climate change. This brief video from New Zealand captures the spirit of the event and it's importance.

What can you do to reduce your carbon intake?

Visit the Franklin Area Climate Team (FACT) for information and links to 350.org and other informative sites.

Not sure who to believe on the climate change issue? This video I found the most convincing argument. Take ten minutes to view this and see if you can decide to take action today.

The team will host a Cut the Carbon event on Saturday at 3 p.m. in front of Foxborough Universalist Church at 6 Bird St., Foxborough.

Additional details can be found here

The 350 Banner is posted

The banner close up looks like this:

The banner hung between the columns looks like this:

Nice work Franklin Area Climate Team!

A call to action on climate control

There is more to the article than the piece shown here, please click through to the Milford Daily News site to read the remainder.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Ashley Studley/Daily News staff on 10/21/09

In observance of the International Day of Climate Action, the Franklin Area Climate Team is doing its part to spread awareness and motivate residents to start acting before it's too late.
The team will host a Cut the Carbon event on Saturday at 3 p.m. in front of Foxborough Universalist Church at 6 Bird St., Foxborough.

Team member Ted McIntyre of Franklin said the idea is to "try and educate people on the 350 number, which is the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we need to get back to."
McIntyre explained that the planet's carbon levels are close to 390 parts per million. If this number is not reduced dramatically, the results could be detrimental, he said.

Things you can do from here:

One Life, One Cup

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via No Impact Man by Sean Sakamoto on 10/22/09


What struck me was how much this cup must mean to him by now. It also seemed very kind to the environment to use just one cup in all that time. I know that if you took all the cups I've used over the past thirty years, they would probably need their own landfill. How many paper cups, Styrofoam coffees, coke bottles, water bottles...how much glass and plastic have I used and thrown away in the course of my days over the years? Too many to be sure.
Apart from the simplicity of using one cup is the fact that it's made of clay. It was dug from the earth, molded by hand, glazed and fired in a kiln. It made me think that consumption itself isn't necessarily bad. There are ways to own things that can be fun, and even meaningful, and also friendly to the environment. What if everything I owned was acquired to celebrate an occasion, and lasted a lifetime?

Things you can do from here:

Letter from 350.org on the events of October 24th

Dear Friends,
The big day of climate action is right around the corner, so with 9 days left I decided to write up the top 9 reasons why I'm unbelievably excited.

1 - October 24th will be the most widespread day of climate action ever

As I write this, our action counter just ticked past Action #3000-scratch that, 3003! There are events taking place in 158 countries around the world.  This. Will. Be. HUGE.

Visit www.350.org/map to find and RSVP for an action near you. If there isn't one being planned yet, worry not, you can still start one! - www.350.org/Oct24

2 - The world will hear our call

In case you missed the news, 350.org staff just got permission to display your 350 action photos & videos from around the world on the MASSIVE screens in Times Square, in the HEART of New York City. We can't wait to broadcast your 350 action media in such a way that's both worthy of this amazing moment and is sure to reach world leaders:

On the Monday after October 24th, the 350.org crew will be visiting UN headquarters in NYC to hand-deliver the photos to diplomats and delegates from around the world to make sure they know how much you want a global climate deal that meets the science.

3 - Partners are pulling out all the stops

Al Gore invited his millions of email subscribers & 1.75 million Twitter followers to join or start actions around the world @ 350.org. Read more about this exciting announcement here: www.350.org/gore

Other partners-from environmental groups like Greenpeace and 1Sky, to online powerhouses like Avaaz, to brand new coalitions like TckTckTck-are all coming forward in an unprecedented alliance to create a global climate movement. This movement is only possible because of a network of friends and allies around the world, including major international NGOs and local, grassroots organizations. Please visit our partners page to learn more: www.350.org/friends

4 - It's not too late to join the action

The European team whipped up a "Quick & Easy" Action guide to help new organizers pull off a great 350 action just in time--check out all the great actions you can organize, even if you have only a week left before the big day: www.350.org/quick

5 - The timing is right

Today (October 15th, depending on your time zone) is "Blog Action Day"--an annual event when thousands of bloggers all over the world write about a single topic.  This year's subject: climate change. Over 7,000 blogs have signed up, reaching 10+ million readers! 350 is thrilled to be a featured partner--today literally hundreds of blogs will feature 350. If you have a blog and want to get involved just click here: www.350.org/bloggers

And speaking of good timing, it turns out the International Day of Climate Action just happens to take place on the internationally recognized "UN Day", and the UN just happens to be a major target for the outpouring of action the world will see on October 24th.  Perfect.

6 - 350 has gone mobile

Keep the movement in your pocket at www.350.org/mobile.  We have a brand new iPhone App, plus people in a dozen countries can use their mobile phones to join the world's first grassroots global SMS text messaging campaign.

7 - This movement has room for everyone

October 24th won't be like anything you've ever seen before--not just in terms of scope and scale, but in terms of diversity as well.  October 24th events will be of every stripe and color--in addition to the thousands of amazing rallies, educational events, and protests, there will be unique contributions from unlikely places and people:

- The president of the Maldives, a near-extinct island-nation, will be holding a cabinet meeting underwater, complete with scuba gear and 350 banners.

- Afghan youth will be creating a giant chalk image of 350 on the side of a mountain in the Hindu Kush.

- Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli activists will put aside political differences to push for a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty.  On the beaches of their respective shores of the Dead Sea, they will make a big 3, 5, and 0.

And that's just just a few...out of 3003.

8 - The media is getting very interested...

350 is gaining momentum in the mainstream media - what politicians use as the barometer of public opinion. The Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, CNN, are but a few sources covering the 350 movement this past week. And this is just a taste of the global & local media headlines we're going to make together on the 24th--and beyond!

9 - We've got the most powerful tool on the planet--the internet

Just a few years ago it would have been laughable to try to pull off a global campaign, in 10+ languages, with events in 150+ countries.  Now, a web-powered campaign can harness video (like these animations), social networks (like our pages on Twitter and Facebook), e-mail (like this one), online maps, and more.  And now you can help build this buzz online--take 15 seconds to emblazon your Twitter avatar or Facebook profile picture with a 350 badge. 

That's all for now--we'll be in touch next week for the final push.  So much is happening in this final stretch that's it's hard for any one of us to keep track.

Can you believe there are only 9 days until Oct. 24th?


Jamie Henn for the entire 350.org team around the world

Reduce your carbon footprint, step by step, one day at a time!

With Oct 24th rapidly approaching, how do we (yes, you and I) really go about our daily lives and reduce our carbon impact? You'd think that someone would already have figured that out.

Guess what, someone has!

This video highlights the process by which step by step for a week you can try to reduce your carbon inpact and see how it goes.

How hard will it be? You won't know until you try!


Additional information on this challenge can be found on their website.

You can register
Download the guide
and follow their process one day at a time!

FACT wins grant

Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) Executive Director Rob Garrity today announced the award of a Wolfe & Rita Climate Action Grant to the Franklin Area Climate Team (FACT), which is organizing activities in Foxboro and surrounding towns on Saturday, October 24th, an international day of awareness and education on global warming.

Using the grant and private donations, organizers are creating a “Cut the Carbon” hands-on demonstration to show how everyone can do his/her part to solve the growing problem of global warming. This will be just one of thousands of events for climate action on October 24th. The “Cut the Carbon” event will take place at the Foxborough Universalist Church, 6 Bird Street, on the Foxborough town common in the afternoon.

The International Day of Climate Action, (www.350.org) is focused on the number "350" because that is the number scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide — measured in "Parts Per Million" -- in Earth’s atmosphere.

Charles DiPompo, a Foxborough resident involved in the FACT group, said “Since the planet currently has carbon levels close to 390, the limit of 350 parts per million is the number we need to get back to as soon as possible to avoid devastating climate change.”

The gathering will begin at 3:00 pm with an interactive display of 350 white ping pong balls and 40 black ping pong balls.  This display will symbolize the urgent need to reduce the abnormally high concentration of carbon already in the atmosphere. Area residents are invited to pledge their willingness to help solve global warming by taking home one of 40 balls representing the desired reduction in levels of carbon.  Paul Mortenson, member of the Foxborough Board of Selectmen, will be speaking.

Later in the afternoon, at 3:50 p.m. the bell of the Bethany Congregational Church, high in its steeple overlooking the town common will be rung 35 times as a call to action.

The events are part of an international effort, with thousands of organizations from over 100 countries around the world participating in local events to draw awareness to climate change and motivate citizens to action. All local events are open to the public at no charge and will be listed on the FACT blog at http:franklinareaclimateteam.blogspot.com.  Additional events include: bell ringing at 3:50 pm at the St. Blaise Catholic Church in Bellingham, the Epiphany Episcopal Church in Walpole and the First Universalist Society of Franklin Church.

Bishop Bud Cederholm of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts asks the diocesan community to join him in observing an "International Day of Climate Action" on Saturday, Oct. 24, when events on town and city commons will be held to raise awareness and public advocacy toward reducing carbon emissions to slow global warming.  "Go to www.350.org for more information about how Episcopal congregations can join ecumenical and interfaith groups in their communities in holding a powerful and prophetic event.  What's needed is your leadership," Bishop Cederholm stated.

 “October 24th is our opportunity to think globally and act locally,” DiPompo explained. “The 24th is fundamentally a day of hope for our future.”

“Wolfe & Rita Climate Action Grants provide MCAN local chapters with a supplementary source of funding to pursue climate action projects, education outreach programs and promote climate activism in their communities,” said Garrity, Executive Director of MCAN.  “Since 2002 this grant program has provided MCAN chapters with more than $20,000 to pursue local projects reducing energy use, cutting carbon emissions, and educating people about climate change.”

Founded in 1999, MCAN is a growing coalition of 40 locally organized groups fighting the climate crisis in 70 cities and towns across Massachusetts.  The network promotes carbon-reducing practices on a municipal and residential level, supports other MCAN chapters and allied organizations in their efforts to build a focused statewide movement and provides assistance to state policy makers as they adopt policies to reduce energy use and address the threat of climate change.  To learn more visit www.massclimateaction.net.

Additional information about the Franklin Area Climate Team can be found here

Unite for Climate Action

FACT is coordinating for climate action on October 24th. This is the banner that the team collaborated on to get made for the days events.

surrender your children’s future?

Alex Beam's article in the Boston Globe (which you can read here) generated a couple of responses from folks associated with MCAN, one from Franklin. Ted McIntyre write here:
The answer is simple: There is no stable warmer world in our future with a few extra balmy spring days for us to adapt to. Instead, “spewing more carbon’’ leads us into a sequence of worse and worse impacts, from simple collapses of food and water systems to a redrawing of the continents. Despite giving McKibben the last word, the overall message of the piece urges resignation and a surrender of our children’s future.
Read Ted's full letter to the editor here

Nancy Nolan chimes in with:
Beam chose to mock and trivialize McKibben’s work. We should be praising McKibben for standing up to the well-funded forces trying to confuse the general public over climate change. He could have made a nice living writing books from his home in Vermont, but he’s put his life on hold to spread awareness of the climate crisis. 
Read Nancy's full response here.
As October 24th approaches, the amount of conversation around climate change should increase. Let's hope it stays within the realm of a civil discourse. Learn what you can about 350! After all this is your future too!

Climate action hash tags

What is a hash tag?

A hash tag is a way to follow what is being said via Twitter.

People who support climate action generally use these hash tags:
  • #climate: General climate talk
  • #climatebill: Specific disscussion about the legislation
  • #ACES: More wonky talk. Often used by environmental groups
For more information on how to follow the Twitter stream and listen in (or even jump into respond) to what is being said about the climate bill, go here