Tomorrow, October 24, is 350 Action Day-- an internationally organized effort to call attention to the number 350, as in 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere as the upper limit of compatibility with life on this planet as we know it. Right now, we're at 387.
Why now? The Copenhagen conversations around climate change in December are on the horizon. The world leaders that will gather there need to know they have the support and the expectation of the people in their countries to do what it takes to mitigate the coming global climate change with effective policy frameworks at a global scale now.
Why this and not calling Congress? This is a global issue. While Congress is considering legislation in a variety of forms and we should certainly call them, too, ultimately the solution needs to be international and at the level of macro-policy. Symbolic actions covered by the media worldwide have more power to influence outcomes at that level than even direct political action at this point. Both-and-- and for this, that means we do need symbolic actions, and this is a great day to do them.
As of now, there are over 4000 actions organized in 178 countries worldwide to call attention to 350 as the target to reach-- and preferably exceed. That makes this the most widespread demonstration in human history. (Last weekend's Poverty Action Day will likely remain on the books as having the largest number of people-- but that was only 89 nations, and this one is double that).
Getting involved where you are is simple-- get some folks together and do SOMETHING public to call attention to the number 350. Take a group picture when you've done it with the number 350 prominently displayed in some way, and send that picture in to 350.org.
My wife's parish, Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, has a Green Team that is running with it. Their action will be simple-- ringing the church bells 350 times starting at noon, and a group picture after that. My younger son Will, age 13, will be among those ringing the bells (he thinks this will be fun, and I think he's right!). Some folks from Lockerbie Central (our host church for emergingumc2: restoring missional methodism) will be there. Members of the Green Team are also inviting other congregations to come to Trinity to help keep count (or operate the bells!) OR, if they have bells, to do the same where they are. Internationally, folks are doing all sorts of different, creative things-- but this is just one simple idea you could implement where you are with very little effort.
For all sorts of helpful information, and to sign whatever you do up as part of this global project, go to http://350.org.
If this isn't missional-- and right up our alley as Methodists-- I don't know what is!
Peace in Christ,