Where We’ve Been, Where We’re At & Where We’re Going

It’s my great honor to have written this update on our South Bay Los Angeles 350 Climate Action Group  for the 350.org site where you will find it cross posted and currently on their homepage. I’m proud to be associated in any way with Bill McKibben, May Boeve, Matt Fitzgerald, Joe Solomon, Jamie Henn and every other organizer I’ve come in contact with from the 350 team.

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As part of the International Day of Climate Change on October 24, participants line up and do the wave for an airplane covering the event near the Manhattan Beach Pier. Organizers said 5,200 events were scheduled around the globe to mark the day. (Sean Hiller Daily Breeze Staff Photographer)

It’s exactly two weeks to the day since we surprised a whole lot of folks with an Amazing Waving Human Tide Line on our South Bay Los Angeles beach that stretched much further than any of us could see from the start of the line at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

It was indeed amazing, it was most definitely waving and it was filled with hundreds and hundreds of humans showing the world that we Southern Californians are anything but mellow or laid-back when it comes to demanding a 350 ppm CO2 target and the actions necessary to protect our children’s’ future survival.

The energy, buzz and sheer power of the 1,300 strong and very potent mix of people of every age, from every walk of life and from every rung on the ladder who made history on our beach is still reverberating throughout the community and down every hall of power on the local, regional, county, state and federal level.  And we have no intention of letting those vibrations subside.

Our event generated heat and we stoked those flames and kept them burning over the last two weeks through the continual release of photos and slide shows, news articles, radio and TV broadcasts, and video after video shot by the multiple camera crews we had covering our event.   We share and distribute each new piece of content through a consistent and zero cost combination of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, a WordPress blog, a PBworks Wiki and email blasts to our volunteers, supporters and the local media.

We’re doing it in person too.  This Thursday we’re holding a big potluck dinner and celebration for all our volunteers and supporters and everyone is excited about seeing each other again and seeing our photos and videos projected on a big screen.  As many virtual tools as we use every day, nothing matches the bonding power and sheer joy of gathering together to share a meal and the vision for what’s next.

One thing we organizers knew all along was that October 24th – as much as we invested into that one big day – was really all about an awakening of people and only the start of something much bigger, broader and bolder.

Now that we’ve helped our community smell the coffee we’re feeding them the facts, showing them what’s at stake, and making this issue very personal for everyone who cares about their moral obligation to leave this world a better place than we found it.  We’re finding people are hungry for the straight story which they have not been getting from the mainstream media.

We are not shy about equating the threat we face with the threat the Greatest Generation responded to during World War II when they sacrificed whatever they had to and summoned courage they never knew they had, in order to give people who were born in the post war boom – baby boomers like me – the greatest quality of life in the history of mankind.

8.09.80 International Day of ActionWe did more than just mark the spot where sea level rise will bring the waves with our Amazing Waving Human Tide Line, we drew a line in sand and declared that those who crossed that line with us and stood at our side were ready to do whatever it takes to stop destroying our children’s future – and that we stood against those who are willing to sellout that future for short term profits and greed.  Those are the stakes and we don’t have any problem telling it like it is.

Another thing we don’t have any problem doing is holding our elected officials to the commitments they make.  We staged an extraordinary rally at our event with over a dozen elected officials publicly endorsing the 350 target and calling for the tough action necessary to achieve those emission reductions.  Here in California I’m proud to say we don’t have to chase our politicians after the fact to show them what we did on October 24, because so many of them were there standing side by side with us.

Republicans and Democrats alike, we had support from our Congresswoman, our State Senator, Our State Assemblyman, the entire Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the 16 cities of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments and the City Councils of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance.  We have their powerful 350 commitments on video and we’ll be delivering those sound bites, along with our photos from the event and our appreciation, to our elected officials during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday season in the United States.

We’ll also be delivering our photos and videos to our California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has already proven a powerful leader in driving exactly the kind of greenhouse gas reductions, energy efficiency standards and renewable energy generation that will get us to 350 ppm.  Through his signing of our state’s Global Warming Solutions Act we know the Governor should be a natural ally of the 350 movement and we will actively solicit his endorsement and support as we share our October 24 album – and the media spotlight – with him.

Our job now is to use our people power to keep rapidly growing our movement and to leverage our strength and momentum in unrelenting waves of dramatic action.  It’s critical for us to understand that 350 has some mojo now and that this is the diem we need to carpe with a force and determination that is impossible to ignore.  This is no time to have your finger in the air waiting to see which way the wind is blowing – this is the time to BE the wind. You best understand that this is the day you are called upon to dig deep into your soul and find the better angels of our nature.

We’ve got 27 days until Copenhagen and for the next four weeks we need to keep our eye on the prize – and that prize is a specific and binding 350 target in the climate treaty.  The time has come to strap it on, draw your own line in the sand and understand that this is your moment and you’re not going to get another.  You can’t put it off for next year or hope someone else will step up in your place.

The stakes have never been greater, the odds never stacked higher against us and the time left for action never shorter.  Yet the way is clear, the solutions are already in our hands and I believe that if we are unyielding in our efforts and are relentless in our actions that our leaders will have no choice but to commit to a  treaty that takes us back to 350.

That’s what can happen in 27 days if we keep on working. That’s what is possible if we deliver our photos and the voices of our people to the representatives at every level who need to see them, hear them and feel the sense of urgency it’s our responsibility to fill them with. We are ready to keep on rocking and rolling nonstop for all 27 days.  Let’s all play together, crank that volume way up and make our music impossible to ignore.

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