Founded by local author and environmental advocate, Bill McKibben, as well as several other Middlebury alumni, 350.org is an international organization whose mission is “to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis.” It focuses on reducing carbon emissions and reaching the number 350, as this marks the point between where our Earth needs to be and the direction in which it is currently headed. For the past several years, 350.org has organized rallies and demonstrations all over the world, many of which have occurred at the same time in different places. Last year, it organized a global Day of Action to spread awareness about carbon emissions and the town of Middlebury celebrated with a community potluck on the town green. This year, however, 350.org has decided that a potluck is simply not enough and it is throwing a full-blown party. The invitation has three pieces of information, the date — 10/10/10, the place — wherever you live and the theme — CHANGE. It is a Global Work Party.
This Sunday, people will gather together all over the world to fight global warming. In Auckland, New Zealand, people are having a bike fix-up day to help encourage citizens to bike ride. In Costa Rica, people will be planting thousands of trees, and in South Africa, people will learn how to cook organically. The goal of 10/10/10 is to send a message to the world’s political leaders. Now more than ever, our planet needs energy policies and legislation that can make a dent in this “350” goal. If the leaders see how invested the population is in climate change, the hope is that it will inspire them to take environmental action. Though each individual effort in this Global Work Party will count towards the final goal, what matters most is the collective unity with which we approach this task.
In Middlebury alone, there will be eight different Global Work Parties on Oct. 10. The day has been organized primarily by the Sunday Night Group, the College’s environmental activist organization, with two themes in mind: living more sustainably on campus and achieving sustainability in the community. In the morning, a variety of campus activities will take place. Festivities begin with a “hanging out” of clothes on Proctor Rd., followed by a harvest festival in the organic garden and tentatively a yoga session led by Andrea Olsen. The afternoon’s focus is on the community, and activities include gleaning, canvassing for green candidates and home weatherization/solar power lessons. The day will culminate in a Carbon Buster Fashion Show on the town green. The options are endless. Participate in as little or as much as you wish; the point is simply to do something. For more information about these or any other Global Work Party events around the world, visit 350.org’s website.
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