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!