The Science Behind 350.org
Climate change is escalating and very real concern that is facing each and every one of us today. 350.org is an organization that is dedicated to raising awareness and fighting the effects of climate change. They believe in an equitable, and sustainable society.
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted. Paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from current levels to at most 350 ppm.” – Dr James Hansen
Dr James Hansen is the former head of the Goddard Institute for pace Studies. He is the world’s leading climatologist and his studies are telling us that climate change is not compatible with mankind. We need to pay attention to what is going on around us and be mindful of our impact.
Right now, the CO2 levels in our atmosphere are at about 400 parts per million. Parts per million refers to a simple way of measuring the ratio of carbon dioxide molecules to all the other molecules in the atmosphere. That 350ppm that Dr Hanse was talking about is where the organization gets its name.
For centuries, the levels of carbon dioxide were at a regular healthy 275ppm. Life evolved, developed and is how it adapted. Our planet can cope with at this level. But then something astonishing happened, the levels rose and just didn’t stop. Starting in the 18th century, people began burning fossil fuels to produce energy.
What Does This Mean?
Now, a few years later, we still haven’t stopped. Simple things, like switching on the lights or heating up the house are burning up fossil fuels and releasing them into the atmosphere. We are adding about 2ppm per year to an already uncontrollable 400ppm. The earth cannot cope, it needed millions of years to adapt to this kind of change and we have given it only a few hundred.
If we cannot get it down to 350ppm, then we are facing irreversible damages and uncontrollable climate change that will have devastating effects on mankind and our natural habitats. So far, we’re experiencing 1 degree Celsius uptick in the temperature and the results are disastrous.
Glaciers are melting, mosquitoes are traveling into new territories taking diseases with them. Droughts are becoming more widespread resulting in food shortages and famine all over the world. Oceans are rising, soon vital land, islands and farmlands will be completely submerged within this century.
The ocean is becoming acidic due to the absorption of CO2 which is bad for many forms of sea life. We are also facing extreme weather which destroys hundreds of lives. This will wreck homes, economies and infrastructures resulting in conflict and security issues in regions that are already facing tremendous issues such as poverty and war.
The arctic is the biggest indicator of the change that is rapidly happening all around us. Polar ice caps are melting and at astounding rates. Existence of fragile life is affected as a result. Animals and indigenous people are feeling the immediate effects and we will soon follow.
Climate change is an ongoing study and we do not have all the facts, but that is not an excuse for ignorance. Climate change is more than a concern, hastened and worsened by our own human activity.
Climate justice. We’re all facing this crisis, people all over the world are feeling the effects. Island nations are sinking and indigenous people are being taken advantage of while their land is being stripped of fossil fuels.
We need emphasis on communities affected. Follow the lead of those who are on the front line of this crisis. We need to stand together. Mankind is facing the same injustice so we need to stand up united and work towards a sustainable solution for the future and the future of our children.
350.org was founded by a collaborative of university students under the direction of Bill Mckibben, author of one of the first books warning the public about global warming. They started organizing in 2008, when they recognized global warming as one of the most serious challenges to face mankind ever.
So, they organized mass mobilizations and included activists and environmental groups to raise awareness about global warming to inform the public. They have held many campaigns to raise awareness and took major steps to becoming a movement. By organizing events such as “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history”.
350.org are allied with some of the most influential and effective organizations in the world and take part in many major movements dedicated to making our world a better place.
What Can you do?
Knowledge is power. The more people who know about the problems that global warming poses the more we can stand together and come up with a solution. So, you can start by arming yourself with information. Knowing what the problem is will take you one step farther to becoming a tool in the solution.
Next, you need to educate others to what is happening, its real! Use whatever influence you have to speak out and educate others to get involved.
The future is in your hands… we cannot sit back and blame the past for what has happened. Our only chance at survival is acknowledging the larger problem and coming together to resolve. We cannot do this in one generation, it will take time and effort. But we can accomplish this together as an informed society.
We cannot leave the hard work to one organization or group. Therefore these movements partner up and become allies, because we are stronger together. So, take your place in the global movement for climate change today.