Doing the global-action wave

October 13, 2010
Coral reef

When Century
editor-at-large Bill McKibben visited the White House last month, he left disappointed. After driving
from Maine with one of the solar panels installed on the White House by Jimmy
Carter and removed by Ronald Reagan (who also let subsidies for renewable
energy slide), McKibben pitched several staff members on re-installing the
panels as a symbol of an administration that will press harder for
environmental change. But staffers seemed more interested in touting existing
environmental initiatives. (Some suggested
that the White House wanted to maintain a distance from possible affiliation
with the one-term Carter administration.)

McKibben's colleague Jamie Henn wrote a post
to buoy up disappointed members of their organization, 350.org. The group is
dedicated to pressing for reduction of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere to 350 parts per million, the most it can absorb without
catastrophic change. We're at 392 parts and climbing.

A month later the White House announced
that it would be putting up solar panels after all. And just in time. On the heels
of the announcement came perhaps the largest global grassroots event ever—350.org's
global climate change party, Day of
Action
. The results are still coming in, but the hope is that there is some
power in 7,347 actions—bike rides, tree plantings, solar
installations—performed in 188 countries, with reports and photos collected and
broadcast from one website.

Take
a moment to see
the pride and hopefulness in many faces, including
children.

Read Bill McKibben's Century article on the gulf oil leak.