A week from Saturday, people around the world will be making their concerns about climate change heard — loudly.
In New York, Greenpeace will be leading a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. In New Zealand, singers will be creating a mass choir for climate action in Christchurch’s Victoria Square. At Cape Town’s Muizenberg Beach, photographers will be capturing the changing beach scene as ice blocks spelling out the number 350 slowly melt.
The participants’ message to world leaders is the same: You must act now to cut greenhouse gas emissions and get atmospheric CO2 back below 350 parts per million. It’s a moral issue, a health and safety issue, and it will quickly become an economic issue as the climate changes. Already, CO2 levels are nearing 390 ppm.
In the Maldives, President Mohammed Nasheed plans to hold his Oct. 17 Cabinet meeting underwater in scuba gear to make a point. A sea level rise of just a foot and a half would leave much of the Maldives islands uninhabitable, and increasing temperatures could kill the coral reefs that protect the land from waves.
“This is why no one in the Maldives is applauding the recent pledge of the G-8 nations to try and hold temperature increases to 2 degrees and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 450 parts per million,” Nasheed wrote recently in the Huffington Post.
“A few years ago, those might have been laudable goals, but new science makes clear they’re out of date.”
Activists aren’t the only voices getting through. In Britain, a rather disturbing new government-sponsored ad is running on television. In it, a father reads his little girl a bedtime story about a land where too much CO2 is causing heat waves and floods.
“Is there a happy ending?” the girl asks.
“It’s up to us how the story ends. See what you can do,” the narrator says, then sends viewers to the government’s Act On CO2 campaign site.
In Germany, the government Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development supported the making of another powerful climate change message. Called “The Bill,” it was a winner of the Germanwatch Short Film Competition. Stick with the subtitles, because the punchline hits hard – and honestly.
To find International Day of Climate Action events taking place near you on Oct. 24, go to 350.org’s interactive map.