Despite the gloomy weather last weekend in the nation’s capital, a diverse group of local activists filled Malcom X Park on October 24 to show solidarity with people across the globe and call for action to stop pollution and poverty. The event was part of the International Day of Climate Action. In Washington, D.C., Friends of the Earth joined forces with 350.org, the Hip Hop Caucus, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the local community to demand action to stop global warming. The rain didn’t stop people from enjoying a day of musical performances, speakers, and a march to the White House.
Speakers addressed climate change from a range of lenses. Denmark’s ambassador to the United States called for the U.S. to step up in Copenhagen and support an international agreement to stop climate change. Friends of the Earth Middle East’s Gidon Bromberg talked about the ability of local communities to collaborate even when their governments do not work well together, providing the example of his work with communities in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine.
This event was part of the largest coordinated global demonstration of its kind on any issue. This landmark event brought together individuals in 181 countries at over 5200 events in solidarity to share their concerns about climate change. “350 is the most important number in the world — it's the maximum amount of CO2 in parts per million that scientists say the earth's atmosphere can safely hold,” says Bill McKibben, founder of the 350 movement. Although critics question the power of rallying around one minute point of climate science, the number enabled people around the globe to break language barriers and demand action from their politicians.
The events of last week symbolize that in this new era of global connection, the only way to move forward in addressing climate change will be a coordinated and collaborative effort. Despite the success of the International Day of Climate Action in bringing attention to the urgent need to stop climate change, more work still needs to be done. From this point on we need to remind leaders that the demands of science have to trump the lack of political will. No one says this will be easy, but the stakes are high, and the world has shown that it is time to take effective action to guarantee our future here on Earth.
Coverage of the International Day of Climate Action