Moving the Planet Forward

350.org

The grassroots environmental group 350.org marked a successful day of worldwide activism on Saturday, September 24, with its “Moving Planet” clean energy campaign. The day featured more than 2,000 demonstrations in 175 countries collectively speaking out against continued dependence on dirty fossil fuels like coal and oil and demanding a more serious, systematic global effort to promote clean energy.

The protest day kicked off with demonstrators forming a “Human Nile” in the streets of Cairo, Egypt, and continued with swimming lessons and disaster drills in Tuvalu to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change. Australians flew kites, farmers and fishermen protested 80 new coal-fired power plants in India and hundreds of cyclists took to the streets in New York, San Francisco, New Zealand and Brazil. Meanwhile, demonstrators in London formed a giant bicycle and in Paris, a giant wind turbine. All the events found creative means to call for clean energy and to show, by acting together, that the world needs to find global solutions—that global warming impacts everyone.

“Moving Planet is a global expression of unity, urgency and purpose to show political and business leaders they need to move from rhetoric to action,” said Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International. “Today, we’re beginning to move in the right direction.”

Combining a host of online resources including images and video, and uniting environmental activists around the world, 350.org has been able to galvanize people around the globe on the climate crisis, whether in protesting the proposed Keystone XL expanded tar sands oil pipeline from Canada to Texas or demanding international action on establishing drastic carbon-cutting measures before the planet (and it inhabitants) suffer irreparable harm. The group was founded by leading environmental author and activist Bill McKibben. As the organization explains: “Scientists have determined that to preserve our planet, we must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million (“ppm” )to below 350 ppm. You can think of 350 as the ‘safe upper limit’ for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. But 350 is more than a number—it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.” Hence, the signs and human body formations of the number 350—a rallying point for activists for what international leaders need to achieve.

To help spur that action, photos from Moving Planet will be displayed on a massive screen outside the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, as a reminder to world leaders involved in climage negotiations in South Africa this November and at the Rio+20 Earth Summit next spring.