October Brought to You by the Number 350

Oct 5, 2009 | What's New


There are two numbers to remember this month: 350 and 24. Experts say 350 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. And on Saturday, October 24, many communities of faith across the land will be gathering for the 350.org Day of Action. Their activities will include prayers, celebrations, worship services, and creative messages using the number, such as ringing a church bell 350 times.

If you would like to get your faith community involved, or you want to attend an event that is already planned, visit 350.org/faith to get started.

You can also contact your state IPL leader to get plugged in to events happening around you.

Today, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, and Mary Evelyn Tucker, of the Forum on Religion and Ecology sent out this message to faith leaders:

Friends-We need you to help at the last minute, and here’s a few sentences to get you inspired. They come from an op-ed that one of our leading 350.org spokespeople, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, just wrote for the African newspapers:

‘In South Africa we showed that if we act on the side of justice, we have the power to turn tides; on October 24 we have a chance to start turning the tide of climate change.’

He’s right-October 24, which is the 350 day of global action, has taken off like a great wave of hope. People all over the world-especially young people and people of faith-have done such an amazing job of organizing that this looks like it will be the most widespread day of political witness the world has ever seen, with several thousand actions and events in more than 150 countries. Every one will be focused on those three numbers, 3-5-0, because scientists tell us that it’s the most important number on earth: it’s the most carbon we can safely have in the atmosphere, at least if we want a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.”

So there will be climbers high on the melting slopes of Mt. Everest with 350 banners. And the entire cabinet of the government of the Maldives has been taking scuba training so they can hold an official underwater meeting on Oct. 24 to pass a 350 resolution. I was just in Bethlehem to meet with activists from across the region: on the Israeli shore of the Dead Sea, activists will use their bodies to make a giant human 3, and in Palestine a giant 5, and on the Jordanian shore an enormous 0.

We need you and your community to join in: to join thousands of churches in ringing the steeple bell 350 times, or use that week’s Torah portion-the story of Noah-to make the case for creation care. Here’s how Archbishop Tutu put it:

Buddhist monks and Muslim congregations are joining in the same kind of hopeful actions. Everywhere participants will be worried about the fate of their own particular places-but they’ll also be standing up for the weakest people and places on earth, whose voices simply must be heard. People in almost all the nations of the earth are involved-it’s the same kind of coalition that helped make the word “apartheid” known around the world.

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