I’m writing this from the lawn in front of the White House.
In front of me there’s a sprawling rally underway, with speakers ranging from indigenous elders to the great Canadian writer Naomi Klein. In back of me, another 243 courageous people are being hauled away to jail — it’s the last day of Phase 1 of the tar sands campaign, and 1,252 North Americans have been arrested, the biggest civil disobedience action this century on this continent.
But we’ve been just as cheered by the help that has poured in from around the world — today, activists in front of the White House held a banner with a huge number on it: 618,428. That's how many people around the world who signed on to the "Stop the Tar Sands" mega-petition to President Obama, including many of you in the 350.org network. Check out this beautiful photo of passion and courage on display:
(Photo Credit: Josh Lopez. If you can't see the photo above, click here to see it and more inspirational photos from DC.)
But this movement does more than sign petitions: many of you stood strong in front of the White House risking arrest, and protesters on every continent have picketed outside embassies and consulates. That makes sense, for global warming is the one problem that affects everyone everywhere.
And the next moment to prove that is Sept. 24 for Moving Planet — the massive day of climate action that will unite people all over the world. We’ve heard news of amazing actions from every corner of the earth -— from a massive bike rally in the Philippines to an incredible eco-festival in Philadelphia. I truly can’t wait to see the pictures pour in.
But here’s why it’s important: we’re not just a movement that opposes things, we’re also a movement that dreams of what’s coming. And we don't just dream, we also transform those dreams into reality. On September 24, on bike and on foot and on boards, we’re going to point the way towards that future. By days' end, we’ll have shown why the bicycle is more glamorous than the car, and why the people have the potential to be more powerful than the polluters.
On some days fighting global warming means swallowing hard, mustering your courage, and making a sacrifice — other days it means getting all your friends up in the saddles of their bikes to have some fun and help move the planet forward.
September 24 is the second kind of day; it’s going to be powerful, it’s going to be beautiful, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Please find or join a local event to get involved.
Bill McKibben for the whole 350.org team
350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries. You can join 350.org on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at facebook.com/350org and follow us on twitter by visiting twitter.com/350. To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit www.350.org/signup. To support our work, donate securely online at 350.org/donate.
What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM–a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.