350 Updates

Bill got cartooned in Australia

Bill McKibben is a kinda big deal here in Australia. Big enough that this morning we woke up to find him cartooned into the Canberra Times.

There's two pieces of context you might like with that: 1. The student is the Premier of Queensland State, Campbell Newman, who is pushing coal extraction like crazy. 2. The Gonski reference is to the Gonski report, which the Government commissioned to review the education system in Australia.

The Do the Maths tour of Australia is now well underway and with Sydney under our belts we're part way through our stop in the nation’s capital Canberra. It really is hard to keep up with things, but here's a bit of what has gone on.

Within hours of touching down in Sydney, Bill underwent an Australian baptism by fire, being a panelist on the live to air show Q & A.  Despite being dropped straight in the middle of a foreign culture and a few unsavoury characters Bill easily stood his ground and impressed the audience, both in studio and watching from home, with his depth of knowledge and clear message about the climate challenge.  In essence he mopped the floor with them.  If you want to see grown men squirm, here is the link http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3759900.htm.

The next day a Bill found himself on another panel, but this time talking to a hundred plus financiers from Sydney and Melbourne.  After presenting the ‘maths’ a lively debate ensued about the possibilities for and limits to divestment and what the carbon bubble means for investors.  Changing tack completely the next stop was to meet with the head of the Uniting Church of NSW and ACT, to say a big thank you for being the first church in the world to divest their portfolio of fossil fuel holdings.  After a quick prayer it was time to move on to the main event of the day the presentation at the Seymour Centre, University of Sydney - which you can see in this picture here was packed out!

Here is a take on the evening from a member of the audience, Georgia Bamber.

"If ticket sales, packed seats and a rapt audience are anything to go by, Bill McKibben’s first show in Australia was a roaring success. The Seymour centre was abuzz with anticipation at 6pm, amazing in light of the fact that we were all there to essentially hear a maths lesson.  

Despite claims of jetlag Bill was fantastic. Relaxed and personal, he immediately won the audience over with his charm, intelligence and above all his passion.

His message to the audience was clear and simple:-  If the Australian mining industry is allowed to proceed with the massive expansion of coal mining and export that they have planned, the planet will be pushed to warming beyond the point of no return.  End of story, no wiggle room.  The laws of physics says it is so.

However gloom and doom about the plight we are in was quickly dispelled as Bill invited young members from Lock the Campus and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition onto the stage to demonstrate his maths - using beer.  After giggles from the audience and a few sips of beer by Bill, and the Lord Mayor of Sydney, everyone was ready to hear the plan of action.  Divestment, direct action, and perhaps even a little gaol time for a few. 

The way Bill connected with the audience was incredible.  He not only educated the audience but he fired them up and made them feel empowered.  I know I walked away from the evening ready to fight the good fight, and I am pretty sure most everybody else did too.

Thank you Bill for saying what needs to be said."

 

Check out the new film "Elemental"

We founded 350.org on the idea that all of our individual struggles to protect our planet, acheive environmental justice, and stop climate change were connected. Whether you're working to stop the tar sands in Canada, protect the Amazon in Brazil, block a coal export facility in Australia, or promote distributed solar power in China, you're part of a global movement. Climate change is the ultimate global issue, no matter where carbon dioxide goes in to the air it has the same warming effect on our atmosphere. And to solve it, we're going to need the ultimate global movement. 

That's why it's so exciting to see new films like Elemental connect the dots between different struggles around the globe.

Click here to watch a preview of the film. 

Here's a description of the film from its website: 

Elemental tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time. The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges river, now polluted and dying. Facing community opposition and personal doubts, Singh works to shut down factories, halt construction of dams, and rouse the Indian public to treat their sacred “Mother Ganga” with respect. Across the globe in northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her own “David and Goliath” struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Tar Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. A young mother and native Denè, Deranger struggles with family challenges while campaigning tirelessly against the Tar Sands and its proposed 2,000-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, which are destroying Indigenous communities and threatening an entire continent.

And in Australia, inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems. Harman finds his inspiration in the natural world’s profound architecture and creates a revolutionary device that he believes can slow down global warming, but will it work?

Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this story are complex, flawed, postmodern heroes for whom stemming the tide of environmental destruction fades in and out of view – part mirage, part miracle.

You can purchase Elemental on iTunes or learn more about the film on its website

 

Chicago students tell President Obama: stop Keystone XL!

This post was written by Dylan Amlin, a member of the Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, and the leader of the RU Fossil Free divestment campaign at Roosevelt University

Yesterday afternoon, hundreds of activists gathered outside the Chicago Hilton, where President Obama and other key political leaders attended a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As a part of an international campaign against the Keystone XL Pipeline, we were there as a reminder that our movement will not back down on this issue—that the president’s decision on KXL could determine the fate of our climate and our future. Attendees represented a number of groups, including Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, 350.org, #IDLENOMORE, Sierra Club, CREDO, Chicago 350, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, and many more.

As a student at Roosevelt University, and a member of the Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, I attended the first Chicago birddogging rally at Argonne Laboratory. It was inspiring to see many of the same faces, but even better to experience the growth of this movement.

 

Australia and New Zealand: The New Frontiers of Divestment and Maths

Just yesterday, Bill McKibben was announced as this year's recipient of the Sophie Prize for his work in "building a social movement to preserve a sustainable planet." In receiving it, he joins the ranks of legends like Wangari Maathai, James Hansen, and Sheila Watt Cloutier. Meanwhile, Bill is about to start a two week tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, bringing his Do the Maths message Downunder. Before he even lands in Australia, the Australian Coal Association has come out biting at his ankles...


"Foreigners coming to Australia to campaign against our national economy can do a lot of damage if their claims go unchallenged" - wrote the Australian Coal Association (ACA) in The Australian last month, attacking Bill McKibben in advance of his Do the Maths Australia tour

The tour begins on Monday, and the ACA is doing its best to discredit and rubbish Bill McKibben, but they're nervous and full of bumbling attacks. Just last week, their CEO, Nikki Williams gave an address here in Sydney in which she took aim at activists who are challenging the might of the coal industry. She took particular aim at Bill for calling the Australian coalmining industry a 'rogue industry', saying "This sinful image is widely promoted by the self-styled planetary saints. The authors of such views are rarely seriously questioned about how they arrived at the view or whether the ‘facts upon which they rely’ are facts at all."

It's standard issue communications practice of the fossil fuel industry - discredit and make the oppostion sound unthruthful, and then over-inflate their own importance (for another example of William's bumbling efforts to discredit Bill, see the bottom of this article).

Last week Bill gave a taste of his upcoming tour on a live cross to the ABC's Lateline show. He also crushed arguments laid out by climate deniers. Well worth a watch - just click here.

In that interview, Bill gave some insight into our plans for bringing divestment campaigning to Australia. Although it has to be said that The Guardian did an even better job in announcing our plans for divestment campaign in this article. So things are hotting up here in Australia, and with many of the venues nearly sold out for Bill's Australia tour, you'll want to get in quick to get a slice of the action! For more info and tickets, visit maths.350.org/australia

 

Announcing: Summer Heat - Mass Action Across the US!

A letter from Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Winona LaDuke, Sandra Steingraber, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood

For the last two years, all across the country, people have said the same thing to us: “We’re ready to fight.”

And as the planet lurches past 400 parts per million concentrations of CO2, the moment has come, the moment to ask you to do hard, important, powerful things. The last two weeks of July are, statistically, the hottest stretch of the year. This year we want to make them politically hot too. Which means we need you, out on the front line. We need some of you to risk going to jail, and all of you to show up and speak out. And since it’s a hard thing to ask, this letter is going to be a little longer than usual. (If you want to cut to the chase, though, the list of actions can be found here.)

We’re calling this next phase of the fight “Summer Heat.” Over the course of the final weeks of July, from the Pacific Northwest to the coast of Maine, from the Keystone pipeline route to the White House where the administration has broken its promise to put solar on the roof, to the Utah desert where they’re getting ready for the first tar sands mine in the US, we’re going to try and get across the essential message: it’s time to stand up – peacefully but firmly — to the industry that is wrecking our future. Click here to make your stand: joinsummerheat.org/map

We believe that mass action can breathe life into even the most hardened political fights, and so these actions will all aim to bring together thousands of people to stand together -- perhaps sometimes on the wrong side of the law.

 

A major milestone.

For the first time, NOAA's Mauna Loa observatory recorded an average daily CO2 concentration above 400 parts per million. Globally, we're not yet at annual averages above 400, but this is indeed an important milestone. We've created 400.350.org to reflect on what this means, and talk about what we're doing to cool the planet.

Please take a moment to read and share.

 

Take the Transition Challenge!

This guest post was written by Marissa Mommaerts. Marissa is the Communications Manager at Transition US, the national hub of an international network of communities transitioning away from fossil fuels toward sustainable, local economies.

During the month of May, join thousands of people across the country taking action to move our economy and society away from dependence on fossil fuels through the Transition Challenge.
 
Organized by Transition US, the Transition Challenge is an opportunity to get your hands dirty, create something beautiful, and be counted as part of a bigger movement toward community resilience in the face of climate change and peak oil.
 
Last year, in partnership with California-based Daily Acts, Transition US registered over 4,000 actions in communities across the country. Folks picked up their shovels and tools, helped construct rainwater harvesting systems, and installed solar panels. Abandoned lots were converted into green oases and school children pulled weeds and planted tomato starts. When these individual actions occur on a large scale, they energize and engage our communities and show the world it is possible to survive and thrive without relying on fossil fuels.
 
To participate in this year's challenge, you can create your own project or volunteer on a community project in one of four areas: food, water, energy, and community. Transition US has plenty of ideas and how-to guides listed on their website, but the sky is the limit. Whether your “something beautiful” takes the form of a community garden, a compost pile, or even a graywater system, it brings us one step closer to a healthy, resilient planet.
 
Make sure to register your project to be counted, and feel free to send updates and photos to the TUS team to share and inspire others with your ideas!
 

Sitka, Alaska moves community members to create a resilient energy future

This guest post was written by Ray Friedlander at the Sitka Conservation Society.

Alaska’s identity has been drilled into oil, and with the recent passage of Senate Bill 21 or the “Oil Wealth Giveaway Bill,” the state plans to subsidize this identity through billion dollar tax breaks to the world’s most profitable corporations at a huge financial loss to the climate, the state, and its citizens over the next several years.
 
Despite this statewide decision, the costal Alaskan town of Sitka has been approaching its energy needs differently. Sitka is committed to resiliency, the ability to bounce back or rise from the ashes of challenge regardless of what that challenge may be. With climate change being the most urgent challenge of the century, the city of Sitka recognizes that having multiple ways to meet our energy needs makes us and the Earth more resilient.