by Peter Bergel
October 24 marked a day of world-wide demonstrations drawing attention to global heating. It was billed as “the biggest day of action the world has ever seen.” Whether that is true or not, it surely signaled a new level of awareness about the threat posed by the climate crisis.
Planet’s Immune Response
Lead organizer Bill McKibben said of the event, “It’s the first sign that the planet’s immune system — conscious citizens ready to make a difference — is finally kicking in. Bloggers, in this metaphor, are key antibodies — they recognize threats, and rally people to take the steps needed. So this year’s Blogger Action Day is, in a sense, a test: is the planet now wired together in a way that will let it act swiftly, nimbly, decisively against the greatest trouble we’ve ever faced?”
October 24 Actions
Actions aimed at awakening the public to the significance of 350 — the maximum number of parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air that will not lead to severe global heating effects — were held worldwide. Some 5,200 of them took place. McKibben noted that the rallies, events and demonstrations in 182 nations were intended “to demand that our leaders take tougher action heading to Copenhagen.” It is crucial that the Copenhagen meeting on climate change yield significant results because we already have 390 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Among these events were several in Oregon.
• Phil Carver, The PeaceWorker’s Beltway Bulletin columnist, and friends were slated to conclude a 350-mile walk from Coos Bay to Portland (via Astoria). Supporters planned to join them for the concluding miles as they made their way to Pioneer Courthouse Square for a “350 Awareness Rally.”
• The “River of Action’s” intent was to float a giant “350,” make out of canoes and kayaks, just south of the Burnside Bridge, on the west side of the river, with the 350 facing east.
• The “Make Some Noise for the Planet!” Business Challenge planned to bring out tambourines, kazoos and drums for a march from the Farmers Market at PSU to Pioneer Square, where it was to join up with the 350 Walkers for their rally.
For more information, check 350.org. Φ
Peter Bergel is Executive Director of Oregon PeaceWorks.