It took a couple of years for the number to stick: 350. Its the number (parts per million of C02) that we need to maintain if we want to save our lovely planet. But this weekend we topped 400 and like the frog in the pot of water that is slowly coming to a boil we may have reached a point of no return. But we can’t live like that – fear and despair won’t change anything.
Crystal Lameman, of the Beaver Creek Cree who was honored at this year’s Global Exchange Human Right’s award says: “When disaster strikes it is not going to know race, color or creed. I’m here to tell you, when that happens, the greed is going see that it cannot eat money and you cannot drink oil. And that we all bleed the same color. . .…If the government and industry think that throwing money at us is going to make this better, I choose life and my children’s lives and I choose health over money.”
350.org has been building the broadest possible movement to fight climate change — making links around the world from Uzbekistan to Argentina, keeping that 350 number in front of UN negotiators and student activists alike. So it was with some trepidation that I saw a long e-mail from Bill McKibben cross my computer screen this weekend. What could he say that would lift my spirits and encourage me to keep up the fight even as the water begins to boil.
He calls us to fight – to do hard, important and powerful things this summer. As we start experiencing the climate chaos of the summer months he says we have to turn up the heat on our politicians to get the number down again. “Summer Heat”– is a call to do something to stop our addiction to fossil fuels and the policies we’ve built around that addiction to maintain it — from fracking in California to the Keystone XL pipe line, to oil company’s dirty refineries to the struggles by front-line communities suffering from impossibly brutal extraction techniques, to mountain top removal and toxic sludge. To survive we have to struggle together.
Carleen Pickard, our Executive Director, said when she introduced Crystal Lameman, “I believe struggling for climate justice is our highest calling and greatest challenge as a movement. Some think of climate change as a distant or untouchable crisis, but we know every pollutant and every carbon emission is generated in a real place in real time. And as we confront this crisis together with the leaders from the front lines, we know an injury to any community on our beautiful planet will eventually injure us all.
Protecting the vitality of the atmosphere that sustains all life on Earth means we have to forge a new path past the international institutions have failed and abandoned us in the wake of corporate globalization. We must be brave. We must be fearless, and relentless. We must work together.”
Thank you Bill Mckibben! Thank Crystal Lameman, Thank you Carleen Pickard! It is one big fight we all want to be part of.
Join us at Global Exchange this summer to Beat the Heat! This will be a chance for thousands of us to show the courage and love we need to bring the number down!