I should be diligently trying to psych people up for this weekend's 350.org International Day of Climate Action. Instead, I'm kind of stunned, knocked for a loop, flabbergasted.
The outpouring of organizing that is going on around the world truly boggles my mind. Yesterday we passed 4,000 different events, rallies, protests set for Saturday; about 8 pm, when it turned out there was a big action planned for Brunei, we had the 170th nation involved. That's pretty much all the nations there are. This will apparently be the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history.And the wild part is: these are people rallying around a semi-arcane scientific data point. Around a parts-per-million goal for the concentration of a particular molecule in the planet's atmosphere. People aren't supposed to be capable of this--and yet they very clearly are.
Please go out and take part in Saturday's events. It's easy to find, at 350.org, the nearest action. Some will be small, some will be big, some will be mundane and some will be mindblowingly beautiful. But it barely matters. You want to be involved--you want to have been there when the climate movement was fully born, when people in large numbers across the seven continents finally rose up and said: we like our planet more or less as it is. We're going to defend it.
I can't guarantee that this day will succeed. At this point, no one can guarantee that anything will succeed. It's possible we've waited too long to get started--clearly we've gotten very near the threshold. The lead paper in last week's issue of Science, by Aradhna Tripati et al, demonstrated that it had been 15 million years since carbon concentrations were this high--and that when it happened last the seas rose a hundred feet above their current level. No guarantees, none at all.
Except that: there's something ironclad gorgeous about people finally coming together. I've waited twenty years to see what the climate movement would look like. It looks like young people in Burundi organizing a massive demonstration in a capital city I'd never even heard of (Bujumbura). It looks like scuba divers underwater on the Great Barrier Reef, and climbers high on the melting slopes of Mount Everest, and Israelis and Palestinians and Jordanians coming together across the checkpoints and walls. It looks like people in every single American state and Canadian province--and Indian state. It looks like 300 big rallies in China where it's not easy or simple to organize. It looks like people willing to go out in the streets in Kabul, in Iraq, in Tegucigalpa in the middle of the Honduran coup.
It looks--if you want it to--like you.