This Saturday, October 24, has been declared the International Day of Climate Action. Its purpose is for people around the world to show their support for a reduction in carbon emissions to slow global warming. This is an opportunity to let our leaders know that we are serious about action being taken on the issues around climate change and that we want our voices heard in creating an agreement for the UN’s environmental conference in Copenhagen, also known as COP15, this December. It’s pretty embarrassing that the U.S. did not take a lead at Kyoto and never even ratified the agreement, especially since we are the largest per person contributors to greenhouse gases. Now it’s time to stand up and let our leaders know that this matters to us and we demand that they take a definitive stand at Copenhagen to enact policies, and be a part of the global community, to reverse global warming.
I hate to say it but if not now, then when? We are running out of time and far too many policies are not set to come into effect way too far in the future to make a real impact when we need it, and that is now. How is it that we were able to put a man on the moon in only eight years, but we cannot make significant changes in our energy policies and decreasing carbon emissions faster than that? Many scientist believe that if we do not get carbon down to 350 ppm by 2020 we may be past the tipping point to reverse things…
Here is more information about what 350 ppm means and why we must reduce carbon in the environment from 390 ppm, where we now are, to 350. Some frequently asked questions about climate change and global warming will help you to understand more. Some of this might seem frightening, but it won’t just go away so we all need to brace up, learn the facts and do whatever we can, and let our governmental leaders know that we want them to do all that they can…otherwise we may be facing a drastically different world in the next few decades.
This won’t happen overnight so we need to take immediate action. Things are really heating up, literally, and we are witnessing it in strange new weather patterns, remember Katrina?, melting of the ice caps and warmer weather and drought in many places across the globe. The effects of these changes are far reaching, with one of them being our global food supplies. There are already so many people who face hunger on a daily basis and with decreased food production this would get much worse.
Here are a few facts about 350:
Until about 200 years ago the atmosphere contained about 275 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. This was a useful amount of carbon dioxide since we need some greenhouse gases to trap heat around the planet or else it would be too cold for us humans.
In the 18th century as we began to burn coal, and gas and then oil the amount of carbon in the atmosphere began to rise and in the second half of the 20th century it really began to rise due to continued industrialization and huge increases in the use of fossil fuels. Every day so many things that we do as a normal part if our life rely on energy that emits carbon dioxide. Now we have gone from 275 ppm to 390.
Many scientist agree that if we can get down to 350 ppm we will be able to reverse global warming, which would stop the melting of the ice caps, reverse destabilizing weather patterns and there would be many more beneficial results. This is not new information, it was first discussed in 1988, but not enough serious action has been taken and we have to make up for all of this lost time.
In 172 countries around the world 4457 actions are planned for Saturday and there could be more by the actual day. You can check here to see what sort of ‘action’ is planned in your city or town. A few days ago I was in the very small town of Point Reyes, California and they are even having an event. Get involved! It is up to each and every one of us to take a stand and start to reverse global warming. There are so many small things that we can all be doing that will make a difference. This is too serious an issue to ignore and assume someone else will do the work for us. And the really good news is that none of this will decrease our quality of life, in fact in the long run it will give us a better quality of life.
So….what are you doing to make a difference?