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Thousands of rallies worldwide demand action on climate crisis

The global warming movement finally went global yesterday, said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, in reaction to the International Day of Climate Action, marked yesterday by more than 5,000 demonstrations in 181 countries.


A 350 is mowed into a meadow 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Copenhagen, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held this December. This picture was taken as part of the 350.org International Day of Climate Action on October 24, 2009.

Photo courtesy of Henrik Jørgensen, Chairman of The Strøgårdsvang Mowers Association

Founded by McKibben, an American environmentalist and author, 350.org is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis. Its mission is “to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis–to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.”


Students in Cebu City, Philippines gather in a giant 350.

Photo by Vito Selma/courtesy of 350.org

350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments think is the safe upper limit for CO2 in the atmosphere, 350.0rg explained in a press release about yesterday’s global demonstration.

“Scientists have concluded that we are already above the safe zone at our current 390ppm, and that unless we are able to rapidly return to 350 ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.”


More than 1,200 people took part in an event at the Sydney Opera House to call for climate action as part of the 350.org Global Day of Climate Action on October 24. Hundreds took part in spelling out 350 on the steps of Sydney’s iconic Opera House.

Photo courtesy of 350.org

For yesterday’s International Day of Climate Action, 350.org combining the Web and SMS networks, distributing Flip video cameras, and training young people in “climate workshops” on multiple continents.

“Event organizers filmed and photographed their actions and uploaded them immediately to the group’s website and Flickr account, and organizers will displayed hundreds of them on the giant advertising screens of Times Square [in New York City] before hand-delivering shots to United Nations delegations on Monday,” 350.org said.


Joseph Rotella and Aravinda Ananada hold a 350 sign at the melting glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

Photo courtesy of 350.0rg

Thousands of photos from 5,248 rallies and protests spread across 181 countries flooded into the Web servers of 350.org over the last 36 hours–marking, 350.org said, “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.”

“And there wasn’t a rock star or movie actor in sight,” McKibben said. “It was ordinary people rallying around a scientific data point to send the message that our leaders actually need to lead.”


Fisheries Minister of the Maldives Ibrahim Didi signing the 350 declaration during the underwater cabinet meeting on October 17.

Photo courtesy of 350.org

“Parts per million CO2 sounds too obscure an idea to attract crowds on six continents, but there were thousands of people in the streets from Togo and Ethiopia and Paraguay to Seattle and London and Sydney,” McKibben said.


The Wilderness Society made this statement in a logged portion of the forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia (Just outside of Melbourne).

Photo by Andrew North, Cloud 9 (Aerial Photography)/courtesy of 350.0rg

Highlights of the day, 350.org said, included a “planet-scale game of Scrabble,” with citizens in Wellington, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia, forming giant human 3s, London, UK, and New Delhi, India, enormous human 5s, and Quito, Ecuador, and Copenhagen, Denmark, massive 0s.

“The point was you had to put them together across global borders if you wanted to solve the puzzle,” said 350.org media coordinator Jamie Henn. “Just like the climate negotiations set for Copenhagen in December.”


Women in Bangladesh

Photo courtesy of 350.org

Around the shore of the Dead Sea Israeli activists made a giant 3, Palestinians a huge 5, and Jordanians a 0. In South Africa, climbers with banners dangled beneath the cable cars on Table Mountain. In Canada, thousands thronged Parliament Hill in Ottawa, 350.org reported.

“People in almost all the nations of the earth are involved ,” said 350.org honorary spokesman Desmond Tutu, the South African Anglican archbishop and Nobel Laureate. “It’s the same kind of coalition that helped make the word apartheid known around the world.”


Buena Vista, Colorado

Photo courtesy of 350.org

The International Day of Climate Action is the second key moment in the Tck Tck Tck campaign on the road to the next UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen this December, 350.0rg said. “Tck Tck Tck is an unprecedented global alliance of civil society organizations, trade unions, faith groups, and millions of individuals all calling for a fair, ambitious, and binding climate change agreement.

“The Day of Action is a part of an effort to build the world’s biggest mandate for bold climate action.”


Children, young people and elders, all of them Totonacas, an ancient native tribe from the northern region of the State of Veracruz in Mexico, gathered to create a  350. “We all sang and danced to make it happen, to reach a better world for all,” said the submitters of the image.

Photo courtesy of 350.org


Istanbul, Turkey

Photo courtesy of 350.org


Members of Pasumai Thaayagam (Green Motherland) in Chennai, India form a human chain for a fair and just climate change treaty as part of the 350.org International Day of Climate Action, October 24.

Photo by R. Arul/courtesy of 350.org


Lantern walkers in Sydney, Australia

Photo by Peter Solness/courtesy of 350.org