"Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven't half the strength you think they have." - Norman Vincent Peale
350 on the front of countless international papers
Last Saturday was the International Day of Climate Action, when the people of the globe mobilized to advocate for solutions to get back down to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (the limit at which civilization as we currently know it can survive). The tiniest towns you've never heard of (e.g. Scheki, Azerbaijan) and civilization's "greatest" cities (Cairo, Mexico City, etc.) sponsored more than five thousand events.
Of course I had to participate, seeing as I'd been thinking about this day off-and-on since my internship this summer. I found an event at 350.org, and recruited Bess, one of my new best friends from the Enviro House, to make the journey to "the other side." After a brief stop at the Farmers' Market, where I was gratuitously bestowed with three servings of homemade egg pasta, (either because I knew the pasta man's newly-adopted dog or because I "looked like I wasn't from here" [his phrasing]) we made it on our beach cruisers across the Cooper River Bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. At the bottom of the bridge was Mt. Pleasant's new Waterfront Park, a perfectly-tended playspace where we would be a part of a human depiction of "350."
In the beginning, around 3:00pm, the participants were predominantly parents with young children. As we started to organize into the "350," random others showed up: a staunch cyclist, an ethnic couple new to the area, older couples, a sole college student, etc. There was little discussion of the meaning of the event, but we held each others' hands as if we all knew why were there. A fireman climbed a long ladder on his fire truck and took a few photos of us with eyes squinted because of the sun. According to the official census taker, I was Participant 25 and Bess was Participant 31 out of a lovely 73.
We were two out of perhaps millions of people WORLDWIDE who came out to show how much they cared about the survival of our world. Though I am just that little figure in the white shirt in front of the giant paper "3," I feel rather essential to the movement. It feels invigorating to witness people crossing all lines to come together for this crucial moment in history.