Can photo ops stop global warming?
Environmentalists across California have organized a series of colorful events Saturday to press for tough federal legislation and an international treaty to curb global warming. The participants are part of "an international day of action," with about 4,000 events in 170 countries at places including the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower, according to 350.org, a group started by environmentalist Bill McKibben.
Members of 30 Santa Barbara and Los Angeles-area environmental groups and their supporters will gather at 3 p.m. on the Manhattan Beach Pier for the "Amazing Waving Human Tide Line" to highlight the the sea rise expected from climate change. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted last month to endorse the International Day of Climate Action. (Click here to download a description of the South Bay 350 Climate Action Group.)
In Orange County, the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center will feature an International Day of Climate Action Festival from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., highlighted by an aerial photo of attendees gathered to form the number 350 on a field. Other activities will include a nature hike, a 5K walk, tree planting and talks by Orange County environmental and religious leaders. The United Methodist Church in Costa Mesa will host a lecture on "creation care," a movement to protect the Earth from climate-related threats.
At 9:45 a.m. a group will meet at 6284 Mulholland Highway in Los Angeles to pose with a giant "350" banner beneath the Hollywood sign.
In Northern California, activists will rally at the Ferry Building in San Francisco at 3:50 p.m. for an aerial photo and to welcome cyclists who rode 350 km from Arcata, as well as surfers with "350"-decorated boards. At Mt. Diablo, 350 people will encircle the summit while a helicopter takes a photo. And vintners will gather in Sonoma Plaza to learn about the effects of climate change on wine growing and, according to organizers, "raise their glasses to a clean energy future." Outdoor enthusiasts will take a "350" photo at Lake Tahoe.
The group 350.org advocates reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million from the current 390 parts. Before the Industrial Revolution, the atmosphere contained about 280 parts per million, but the concentration is rapidly heading toward more than 500 parts as a result of the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of rain forests.
The group, which seeks to spur grass-roots consciousness of climate-change dangers, has its work cut out for it. Polls show that Americans are growing less, not more, concerned about global warming -- despite warnings from scientists that warmer temperatures, drought, melting glaciers, water shortages, species extinctions and sea rise will result from the buildup of carbon dioxide.
-- Margot Roosevelt
Photo: Activists gathered near the Golden Gate Bridge last year. Credit: 350.org