world plans to send the West (in anticipation of the United Nations
Climate Change Conference) a message on Saturday, October 24,
I did not watch the game between the Yankees and the Angels to
see which team the Phillies would play in the World Series, I
did look for news on the climate change protest.
imagined predominantly young white environmental activists in
cities throughout the U.S.
and an image of similar participants in European cities. Those
most impacted by climate change would not even know such a protest
of the planning of this protest nor would they know the organizers.
The world inhabited by those with time to organize and execute
a march and the world of the hoods, rezs, barrios, villages, rural
farmer areas, and rainforest can only collide not coordinate a
protest against Western nation-states plans to turn all of Earth’s
life over to the corporations.
on Monday, I saw footage of those actual protestors. Multiracial
groupings of people in the U.S. and around the global held signs or wore
t-shirts that read - 350! New Orleans, Philadelphia,
The Gambia, Ethiopia, Dominican
the Shores of the Dead Sea in Israel,
Palestine and Jordan,
- Looks like the organizers of this International Day of Action
remembered the world’s majority. Countries in Africa, for example,
are hit the hardest, as Wondwoson M. Seide writes in Born Black
Magazine, “by more draughts, floods and other disasters” as
a result of global warming. In addition, “the historical weather
patterns are becoming less useful for predicting the future conditions
because global warming is changing ocean and atmospheric conditions.”
Just ask the residents of Maldives or those residents in the Gulf Coast cities in the U.S.
According to former New Yorker writer and environmental campaigner,
McKibben, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must
be reduced back to 350 parts per million.
are already past 350ppm, and that comes with its own set of realities.
have to move much more quickly and much more powerfully than we
are at the moment. We have, for example, to stop burning coal
by 2030, (sic) and quicker in the Western world.
“the largest emissions are electricity generation (33 percent)
and transportation (28 percent). The primary drivers of emissions
in these sectors are coal-burning for electricity generation and
oil use for transportation. Almost all U.S. CO2 emissions are
generated by the combustion of fossil fuels” (Resources for
it in the U.S., according to polls from the Pew Research Center
on the People & the Press, only “57 percent of Americans [that’s
U.S. citizens] now believe the Earth is warming,” writes Lisa
Bennett at HuffingtonPost.com,
down from “77 percent in 2006” while reports indicate that the
effects of “climate change are occurring faster than predicted.”
Bennett thinks President Obama’s appearance at the upcoming UN
Climate Change Conference this December in Copenhagen
is a must “not simply because the whole world IS watching, but
because nearly 20,000 delegates from 193 countries have been waiting
since 1997 for the U.S. to align its climate
change goals with the rest of the world.”
anyone noticed that Obama has prioritized the “necessary” war
in Afghanistan? The Obama administration continues
to use depleted uranium in Iraq
“1.7 times heavier than lead, and much more harder than steel,”
writes Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff, depleted uranium’s
use permits the release of uranium oxide particles, which are
just as radioactive as the pure isotopes” that can be “inhaled
or ingested” (Counterpunch
October 30, 2009). Obama attends the climate change conference
and announced the end to the use of depleted uranium? Not likely!
He’s creating his Viet Nam,
complete with a build up of troops and, of course, more chemicals
in the atmosphere and dead Afghanis and U.S. soldiers. This is not exactly a plan to save
humanity and the planet! As Bill Moyers said on Moyers Journal,
200 million troops were sent to Viet
Nam and “we still lost.”
this government does not turn its foreign policy around, if it
does not focus its domestic policy on prioritizing the health
care of its citizens, and if it does not halt an economic system
that secures wealth for the corporations, everyone may lose against
greed and violence.
to the website at 350.org,
the call for an International Day of Action was intended to “lifting
public awareness on the need for an international climate treaty
to reach 350.” By “assembling a coalition of hundreds of organizations
committed to this vision of a more sustainable world,” the organizers
intended to connect communities across the planet, and provide
“on-line resources and tools” that would “make pulling together
an event” access to all. Ultimately the organizers of the International
Day of Action intended to create a movement that would leverage
“meaningful political change.”
I recognize U.S. citizens are confronting
catastrophic illnesses, many without health insurance, while I
recognize thousands are facing unemployment, foreclosures, and
homelessness, I also recognize that what links the issue of health
care, unemployment, foreclosure, and homelessness is the refusal
of this government to enact foreclosure procedures on Wall Street
bankers and the corporations. The “necessary” war in Afghanistan
is a priority that reflects the serious and historical
failings of the capitalist venture. Capitalism cannot sustain
Life on this planet: Anti-government corporations and spineless
politicians equal a global catastrophe in the making.
I have to put in a call.
media will not tell you but this was the largest climate protest
in U.S. history organized by
the same people who organized the climate protest in 2007,” says
Matt Fitzgerald, Grassroots Communications Coordinator.
to 350.org’s website,
the organization’s mission is “to inspire the world to rise to the challenge
of the climate crisis - to create a new sense of urgency and of
possibility for our planet.” Indigenous populations outside the U.S.
and other Western nations, with fewer ppm emissions, are nonetheless
experiencing the greatest impact of climate change, now! Jamie
Henn, Communications Coordinator of 350.org. said that the organization’s
goal was to reach the populations at the G-20 table.
started off to elevate the voices of people who were not listened
to in Ethiopia and in the U.S. - voices who traditional didn’t have their
emailed friends from environmental groups. We called people. We
contacted organizations and gathered names and [those individuals]
gave us more names.”
with emailing potential organizers, the initial organizers used
Facebook and Twitter to amass people around the world who would,
in turn, “meet with neighbors, fellow students,” local politicians,
who agreed to participate took ownership of their own 350 event.
Many incorporated their “own local issues.” In the process, these
organizers “learned new skills.”
community already at work rebuilding the 9th Ward in New Orleans recognized the significance of organizing a 350 parade
in the streets to “mourn the city but also to celebrate the spirit
of the city.”
throughout the world organized themselves, Henn says. “They know
what is the best way” to organize their communities. “350.org.
empowered them to be leaders.”
350.org. facilitated some 5,200 events in 181 countries!
is not only a scientific number but also a “metaphor: We are too
high. We need to go in a completely different direction.”
remains to be seen if Western governments in particular bothered
to take note!
Wade Davis writes, can not afford to “ignore the magnitude of
the threat or the urgency of the dilemma” facing the planet as
we confront climate change. There is no way around it! No short
cuts! To return to 350ppm would require “a reorientation of human
priorities that is both historic in its significance and profoundly
hopeful in its promise.”
: www.350.org (See
photos from around the world and contact the organization and
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has been a writer
for over thirty years of commentary, resistance criticism and
cultural theory, and short stories with a Marxist sensibility
to the impact of cultural narrative violence and its antithesis,
resistance narratives. With entrenched dedication to justice and
equality, she has served as a coordinator of student and community
resistance projects that encourage the Black Feminist idea of
an equalitarian community and facilitator of student-teacher communities
behind the walls of academia for the last twenty years. Dr. Daniels
holds a PhD in Modern American Literatures, with a specialty in
Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola
University, Chicago. Click here
to contact Dr. Daniels.