Getting To Work In 2010
By Bill McKibben
18 March, 2010
Well, no one said it was going to be easy.
Last year, thanks to many of you, we built up enormous momentum for climate solutions. The global day of rallies you pulled off on October 24th turned out to "the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history," according to CNN, with 5200 actions in 181 countries.
And in Copenhagen that translated into 117 countries--most of the world's nations--supporting a tough 350 target.
But it didn't translate into political victory. The biggest polluters wouldn't go along. So we still have work to do.
In fact, our slogan for 2010 is "Get To Work." Get to work to start changing our communities, and get to work to make our leaders realize that they actually need to lead. We've sifted through thousands of your emails from all over the world, and come up with an action plan for this year that we think may break the logjam and get us moving. But only, of course, if we act together to make it happen.
The first date to mark on your calendar: October 10. Working with our friends at the 10:10 campaign, we're going to make the tenth day of the tenth month of the millennium's tenth year a real starting point for concrete action. We're calling it the 10/10 Global Work Party, and in every corner of the world we hope communities will put up solar panels, insulate homes, erect windmills, plant trees, paint bikepaths, launch or harvest local gardens. We'll make sure the world sees this huge day of effort--and we'll use it to send a simple message to our leaders: "We're working--what about you? If we can cover the roof of the school with solar panels, surely you can pass the legislation or sign the treaty that will spread our work everywhere, and confront the climate crisis in time." 10/10/10 will take a snapshot of a clean energy future -- the world of 350 ppm -- and show people why it's worth fighting for. It's not too early to sign up here: www.350.org/oct10
Every nation is not created equal in this climate crisis, of course. If we can't get the biggest polluters and the biggest economies to change, then we'll never win. So we're going to focus some particular attention on China, the United States, and India with a Great Power Race--college and university campuses will compete to see who can come up with the most, and the most creative, climate solutions. We hope friendly competition will help governments see that they have a lot to gain by diving into clean energy--and a lot to lose by missing this opportunity.
And we'll keep figuring out ways to apply political pressure where it counts--in the U.S. Senate, say, where we're joining a group of our best allies in backing the proposed Cap-and-Dividend approach that would stop letting big polluters pour carbon into the sky for free. In other parts of the world, we'll hold more of the climate leadership workshops that produced so many great leaders last year.
And as the next UN conference approaches in Mexico in December, we'll stage the largest piece of public art in the planet's history--a reminder that we have to bring passion to bear along with science and economics if we're going to move this process.
We know, from the calls and emails we've been getting, that people all over the world are ready to go to work. We think this plan can increase the odds of real action. We know that we have no choice. When, years down the road, the next generation asks what we did to save the planet, we want to be able to say: "We rolled up our sleeves and got to work." There's no guarantee we can beat the rich and powerful interests that we're up against--but thanks to you we've got enough momentum to have a real chance. Let's use it now.
Bill McKibben and the 350.org Team
P.S. We've learned that there's great power in pictures, and so we decided to make an audio slideshow that walks through our plan for 2010 and how we got here. Please watch it here, and share the piece with family & friends by spreading this link: www.350.org/audio-slideshow. Also, please forward this message far and wide--2010 needs to be a year of unprecedented growth for this movement.
P.P.S. We want to know what your reaction is to the plan for 2010--will you share your ideas and thoughts with the Global 350 Facebook Community by leaving a comment in the latest message? (www.facebook.com/350.org)
Originally published 10 March, 2010 at 350.org