Proud to be a dot
Last month I joined 350.org. This is a group founded by my hero, Bill McKibben. McKibben is one of the most persistent and cogent environmental writers and activists we have. In the name of the organization is its goal: to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere from its current number of 392 parts per million to below 350. It is a group devoted to grass roots work.
I joined the group to be part of a worldwide demonstration that took place on May 5th. The demonstration was orchestrated by a division of 350.org called climate dots. The events began in the Marshall Islands with people holding signs underwater to show what could happen to all of the Marshall Islands if the current trend in climate change is not stopped. From the Marshall Islands, the protest spread out all over the world: Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Haiti and the Andes were a few spots. Besides our New York demonstration, there were Connect the Dots events in Washington State, Colorado and Washington D.C. And I am only citing a few. It is fun to go to the website www.climatedots.org to check out the photos of what went on on Saturday.
I convinced my friend Ann to go with me on Saturday to, as I put it, “Save the world.” When we arrived, at the Battery Park Riverwalk I was disappointed by the size of the group. There were maybe 20 of us, mostly energetic young people with a few of us “been through the 60’s” types mixed in. Our job was to hold up poles that supported a 28 foot parachute that had NYC Underwater written on it. The idea was to warn that the section of Manhattan we were standing on was likely to disappear underwater if we continue to use fossil fuels and refuse to invest in sustainable energy. Ann and I rather valiantly held our pole against the wind and helped keep the parachute unfurled as others took videos and pictures. We also sang a bit from “New York, New York.” One of the organizers thought that it would be appropriate if we sang, “Its up to you New York, New York.” And it was.
Considering the size of the problem, I was right to be disappointed by the small size of the group that showed up on Saturday. But it is the nature of grass roots organizations to rise up from the bottom. Saturday’s theme of the day was “Connect the Dots.” Each event, was a dot. Watching the photos of the demonstrations that happened around the world on May 5th, I saw that no one group was very large, but added together the number of people taking part was impressive. It is similar to Impressionist art: up close it looks like bits of color and brushstrokes, to get the full picture you need to step back.
According to my Sierra Club Newsletter, the public is beginning to wake up to how important a problem climate change really is. I pray that we are waking up in time. Consider joining 350.org. It is free, and you too could wind up holding a pole to do your part to save the world. It was fun!