Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Vigils For Survival – Join the World in Lighting Candles of Hope

Dear friends,

Usually I write you with good news. This time it’s much more mixed.

In mid-November Barack Obama and the leaders of some other large nations announced that they weren’t going to reach any kind of legally binding climate agreement in Copenhagen–declaring that they need more time despite the five years of preparation they’ve already had.

That’s sad and it’s dangerous-the planet is running out of ‘next years’. But it does give all of us more time to organize a movement to make them respect the science.

So it’s time for the next big steps. The world needs your help once more.

There’s a global mobilization-organized by many different groups-coming together for the weekend in the middle of the Copenhagen conference-Dec. 11-13.  Our collective message? “The World Wants a Real Deal” — that people all over the planet are demanding a a binding global climate agreement guided by the latest science and built upon principles of justice and equity.

There will be big rallies on Saturday in many cities, and on Sunday communities of faith the world over will ring church bells, beat drums, blow horns — all 350 times.

Our main hope is that you will also help organize a candlelight vigil at some iconic or strategic place place near you on Friday or Saturday night.  Around the world people will gather to lighting lanterns or candles, in solemn solidarity with the citizens of those nations who will be first to face the challenge to their very survival posed by climate change.

Click here to register a Vigil For Survival in your community:

Eventually all of us will be hard-pressed by rising seas, spreading drought, and temperatures too hot for growing food. But right now-this year, this decade-there are countries being pressed to the brink. They’re at the forefront of a fight for real change in Copenhagen, and need your help to amplify their voice.

As Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed said last week at a summit of the most vulnerable nations:

“We will not sign a global suicide pact, in Copenhagen or anywhere.”

Instead, he and the others called for a “survival pact,” for commitments by the developed world to cut emissions enough to get the atmospheric concentration of CO2 back to 350. They know the simple, mathematical truth of global warming: 350=Survival.

Some of the vigils will take place at iconic places in communities all over the world.  Others will be outside American consulates and embassies, and a senator’s offices throughout the United States. Partly this is because the United States is, historically, the country most responsible for the carbon in our atmosphere. But more it’s because America, if it chose, could lead the way to a sane global climate policy. The election of Barack Obama ended America’s automatic veto on progress-but the U.S. is still offering insufficient actions, far short of what scientists say is necessary.  And Obama has yet to offer the leadership the crisis requires.

In a very real sense, the short-term survival of many nations, and the long-term health of the whole planet, rests in the hands of Obama and the United States Senate. Their positions, along with those of leaders from the European Union and a few other nations, can make or break a global climate treaty.  Th decisions made by this small group of people will in large part determine whether or not the world forges a deal strong enough to pull us back from the brink of climate catastrophe. Their courage–or lack of it–will help set the future of the planet for geologic time.

The candles we will light are candles of hope.


Bill McKibben for the whole Team

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