Doing a 180 on 350?

posted on August 15th 2011 | 0 comments

Why, if activism won’t do, would I ever link to 350.org‘s tar sands campaign?

Simple: Activism of the sort that gives us lists of “10 things you can do to save the planet” is impotent at best and counterproductive at worst. Recycling, refusing plastic and paper, eating local, biking to work, or avoiding bottled water are all good. I do them with as much conviction as the next vegetarian without a driver’s license.

But none of them will stop global warming. If anything, pointing to these activities as things that do make a difference has probably contributed quite a bit to why people are tuning out.

What we do need is policy change.

350.org is a massive bottom-up, grassroots organization, but its goal is just that kind of top-down policy change.

We won’t head back to 350 ppm through a bunch of environmentalists refusing plastic bags at the register or drinking tap water. Bill McKibben is the first who understands this.

Now, I do hope McKibben wouldn’t only ask his millions of volunteers to study up on what “350 ppm” stood for and to take pictures with 350 signs but also to study the economics that will allow us to get there in the first place.

Here’s hoping. I know just the book that could help make the case. Bill McKibben for one says it’s “an awfully good place to start.”

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