I may be late in finding out about this organisation, but they are interesting. 350.org is co-founded by Bill McKibben, one of the first authors on global warming to the public, back when no one really knew much about it.
Find out about them in 90 seconds, all images and 0 words.
As a platform to mobilise people to action all over the world creatively, 350.org has reached out to over 180 countries all over the world.
Ask them why 350 – and you’ll soon find out that 350 is the safe level of carbon dioxide to have in the atmosphere, as deduced by scientists (Hansen et. al., 2008) through environmental modelling. Don’t just take anyone’s word for it, read the actual paper through the reference.
One thing that resonates loudly with me, is that they are using 350 as a way to reach out to people of all countries and languages, because numbers, images and changes can be universally understood.
In the same vein that Win-Win Ecology by Michael Rosenzweig illustrates, sometimes movements have to be radically different (read: NOT revolutionary, because revolutions are dangerous) for people to sit up and take notice.
Focussing on positive action, Rosenzweig’s main opening in the book brings up an interesting idea. I am recalling this offhand, because I don’t have the book with me. His book opens by saying that there are, basically, two ‘R’s in ecology now. Reservation ecology, and restoration ecology. These terms are pretty self-explanatory. We reserve land for wildlife and biodiversity, in nature reserves and parks, botanical gardens and marine protected areas. Restoration biology talks about protecting new areas that were previously occupied, through active human intervention.
He then proceeds to call for the third ‘R’ in ecology: reconciliation ecology. If there is land to be used, man trumps wildlife – and the number of reserves and their sizes are likewise limited. Habitat loss is one of the leading causes of extinction. It has happened, and still is happening. So what happens to the wildlife then? According to Rosenzweig, this is where reconciliation ecology comes to the rescue. By designing and integrating reconciliation ecology in every aspect of building society, we can share our land with wildlife – so that land is not necessarily a mutually exclusive part of the earth anymore. Anthropocentric outlook, I know.
Still, it’s an interesting book to read, with many astonishing examples of reconciliation ecology, and a good concept to keep in mind – that said, it cannot be, as he proclaims, the way forward – simply because there are many animals that cannot share the same living space as us, as we in theirs. They require particular habitats, environmental conditions, etc. We cannot hope to occupy every bit of the earth and keep our biodiversity and ecosystems intact. A much more extended response to Rosenzweig’s rose-tinted ecology is written here, by Thomas Brooks in 2003.
Lastly, in this short update of mine, is on James Hansen’s desire for Copenhagen talks to fail – if they were fixated solely establishing a ‘cap and trade’ system, that is, in his view, fundamentally wrong as an approach.
What he says then, is intensely thought provoking:
“This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill. On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can’t say let’s reduce slavery, let’s find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%.”
Read the complete interview with The Guardian here.