Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. For all of human history until about 300 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. That’s a useful amount—without some CO2 and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for life on Earth. About 300 years ago the coal and oil age of human history began. Harnessing of coal, and later oil, drove the machines of the Industrial Revolution which eventually led to all the machines and industry surrounding us today. While the machines have brought some useful benefits, the use of oil and coal have harmful side effects that are threatening all our wellbeing.
One of the side effects is an increasing concentration of harmful gasses in the atmosphere. While CO2 is a natural byproduct of animals, its increasing concentration is damaging the natural ecological balance. The current concentration of atmospheric CO2 is 389 parts per million. Side effects include rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, and more severe weather. Returning to 350 parts per million (or less) is required posthaste.
350.org is organizing an international Day of Action. They are calling on people around the world to organize a 350 action for October 24 at an iconic place in their community and upload a photo of their event to 350.org website.
At a minimum a “350 action” is to simply gather a group of people, include the number 350, and upload photo’s to 350.org. They suggest a variety of actions including teach-in’s, inviting political leaders, organizing rallies, a trash cleanup, etc.
They have available resources for publicity or basic information to display during a 350 action.
It’s well and good to have a day of gaining attention to an important issue such as this. What about long term change? On the site they discuss that it is an invitation to build a movement, and clearly they mean for some long term action in addition to the day of action on October 24. The web site doesn’t say what the “movement” will be doing in the long term.
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 389 ppm to at most 350 ppm.”
– Dr. James Hansen, NASA
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