Eco-Justice Ministries  

Eco-Justice Notes
The E-mail Commentary from Eco-Justice Ministries

Go to Work on 10/10/10
distributed 10/1/10 - ©2010

It is just 10 days until 10/10/10. Take part in this year's global day of action to limit climate change!

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Almost a year ago, on October 24, the worldwide movement for climate action staged "the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history." (CNN) More than 5,000 coordinated events were held, involving virtually every country on Earth.

The stupendous organizing efforts last fall kept a tight focus on the number 350, teaching about the 350 parts per million that many scientists consider to be the highest "safe" level for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The 350 movement planted the scientific data point of 350 ppm in the awareness of millions of citizens, reporters and policymakers. That, in itself, was an incredible accomplishment.

The 350 events also give visibility and voice to the small nations, the poor communities and the most vulnerable locations around the planet. Thousands of photos gave a human face to places where climate change is not an abstraction. Gathering on low-lying islands, melting glaciers and spreading deserts, school children, political leaders, farmers and fishers gave witness to the climate impacts that occurring now in the places where they live.

Our hopes were high that this outpouring of public passion would give momentum to the upcoming international negotiations in Copenhagen, and that the huge number of events in the US would prod the Senate into action. Unfortunately, the realms of diplomacy and politics have not produced the agreements and actions that are needed.

There is only definite change in the climate situation in the last year: the CO2 measurements have gone up by about 2 parts per million.

The current readings are at about 389 ppm -- that's far above the safe level. Last year, it was 387. In 1959 (when precise direct measurements started), it was only 316 ppm. This rising curve is not good news.

But there is good news. There is good news about the commitment and resilience of the global movement. The grassroots global call for action continues with a day of "work parties" on 10/10/10. There is exciting news this week. Even more events have been registered for 10/10/10 than were held in 2009, and the number of work parties continues to climb. The people are vocal and active and committed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010 is another day of witness. The work parties will be doing the sorts of things that must happen to change the rising curve of greenhouse gasses. Around the world, community groups will be installing solar panels, planting trees, handing out compact florescent light bulbs (CFL), creating community gardens, engaging in acts of protest, and sponsoring educational events. The things being done that day won't solve the climate crisis by themselves, but they show that the necessary work can be done.

The website puts it this way:

Since we've already worked hard to call, email, petition, and protest to get politicians to move, and they haven't moved fast enough, now it's time to show that we really do have the tools we need to get serious about the climate crisis.

On 10/10/10 we'll show that we the people can do this -- but we need bold energy policies from our political leaders to do it on a scale that truly matters. The goal of the day is not to solve the climate crisis one project at a time, but to send a pointed political message: if we can get to work, you can get to work too -- on the legislation and the treaties that will make all our work easier in the long run.

I urge you to join this global movement. Go to work for the health of God's creation on October 10.

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How can you take part in the 10/10/10 day of work parties?

  • Join an event that has already been registered. There's probably something happening near where you live. Check the listings from -- just type your zip code or city in the search box and then explore the map of local events. (An even simpler search only gives results for one city, not neighboring towns.) In Eco-Justice Ministries' home community of Denver, nine significant events have been planned [MS Word document].

  • Plan your own event. There's still time to create (and register) your own simple "work party."
         * Recruit a few friends, and go door-to-door offering to install energy efficient light bulbs in porch lights. A few dollars to buy CFLs gives you the opportunity to cut energy use, and to have conversations with neighbors.
         * Schedule an "energy efficiency" party at your church. Make sure every possible light bulb is a CFL, put signs on light switches ("When not in use, turn off the juice!"), vacuum the refrigerator coils, check thermostat settings, and tighten up the weather stripping on doors and windows. Be sure to announce to the congregation what you're doing, and why!
         * Other quick-to-do ideas are on the website.

  • Talk up the day. Even if you can't take part in one of the work parties, you can still support the cause. Encourage your neighbors and church members to join local events. On that Sunday morning at church, offer a prayer of thanks and celebration for the 10/10/10 actions. Write a letter to the editor, calling on your political leaders to get to work, too. Call your mayor, and ask her/him to show up at one of the local events.
In just over a week, people all around the world will get to work. We'll be expressing our love for this beautiful, fragile planet. We'll be acting in love for all our neighbors. We'll be leading our leaders toward the work that they need to do.

My work on 10/10/10 includes a sermon at an area church, and a talk at one of the regional events. Where will you go to work for God's creation on 10/10/10?


Peter Sawtell
Executive Director
Eco-Justice Ministries

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