Are you concerned about climate change? Do you worry about what global warming means for you and your children? Would you like to tell the Copenhagen negotiators and Pres. Obama that it’s time for strong legislation to limit greenhouse gases? Then come to the beach in Mamaroneck on Saturday! While beach weather isn’t expected, Cool Cities Mamaroneck, in connection with 350.org, will hold a climate change rally at which Congresswoman Nita Lowey will speak.
Saturday, October 24, Climate Change Action by Cool Cities and 350.org
ON THE BEACH, Harbor Island Park, Mamaroneck, NY, 2 pm
(Rain Venue: The Recreation Building)
The agenda includes:
2:00 pm Climate Change Clothesline: Hanging articles and children’s paintings about energy, the environment, and the earth on a clothesline by the beach (or in the building). Will continue for some time. Ask your kids what they love about the earth.
Prizes for the best kids’ paintings!
2:00 pm Sculpting a giant number, 350, on the beach. Kids can also make “bucket” sandcastles. Bring shovels and pails!
2:55 Photographing the number on the beach; photographing people with banner. These photos will be sent to 350.org, which is putting photos from around the world onto giant screens in Times Square. We hope our big 350 in the sand will be up there, along with other images of hope. On Saturday, there will be 4000 350.org actions in 162 countries worldwide (including 5 in Rwanda), making this the most widely spread grassroots activity in human history.
3:00 Speakers about climate change, the most important issue of our time:
3:50 Church Bells toll at St. Thomas Episcopal Church to symbolize the importance of curtailing climate change
Tables with literature and petitions, Bake sale by the MHS ECO Club and others to benefit 350.org.
What is 350, anyway? It’s the amount of carbon dioxide (expressed in parts per million) that scientists have determined is the safe upper limit for the planet. We are now at 389, so ideally we can roll back the number. Certainly, we should try to limit further concentrations. The next few years may determine the fate of the earth as we know it: increased climate change can lead to “tipping points” involving glacier melt, methane release from the tundra, and carbon dioxide release from carbon “sinks” in the forest.
All in the next few years. Ultimate effects? The loss of coastal cities, global famine and pandemics involving hundreds of millions, the further loss of biodiversity, and an ocean depleted of coral and fish. Al Gore has emailed his list of 1.7 million asking them to go to the nearest rally sponsored by 350.org. The 350.org website has much more detail and a map of actions all over the world. 350.org is an international organization calling attention to the devastation that may lie ahead if we don’t take action now.
We call our rally ON THE BEACH in homage to the fifties novel about nuclear war, because the environmental peril is just as severe. Because climate change happens relatively slowly, however, people have been sluggish to react to the very real threat that we are destroying our planet. To sound the alarm, many churches will be tolling their bells at exactly 3:50 on Saturday. St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Mamaroneck and Grace Church in White Plains will be among those participating. Religious leaders are joining the movement to be stewards of the earth.
Two years ago, a group called Step It Up inspired 1400 actions across the U.S. (including one in Mamaroneck) with the theme, “Reduce Carbon Emissions 80% by 2050.” This initially audacious idea soon became a rallying cry for many presidential candidates and is now considered too modest (not too radical!) a goal. Step It Up, started by five Middlebury seniors and their advisor, Bill McKibben, has evolved into 350.org.
One of the young organizers, Jonathan Warnow, is a product of Mamaroneck, having graduated from Mamaroneck Avenue School, the Hommocks, and Mamaroneck High School. He has spent recent months traveling to New Zealand and Australia, which is experiencing record drought, organizing climate change activity there.
Jon’s message? Climate change is not a remote future possibility. It’s happening now, and it’s happening fast, and we must band together to mitigate it. Demonstrating political will on this issue (especially in the face of general inertia) may be the most important thing we can to for our children, and their children.
Catherine Hiller, a novelist, is the leader of Cool Cities, Mamaroneck and runs a writing and editing service, www.ExecutiveEditor.com.