A year ago, 350.org launched its first public action day. Titled the "International Day of Climate Action," it involved 5,245 coordinated rallies and demonstrations across 180 countries. Event organizers hailed it as "the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history" -- an evaluation that many in the media seconded. Unfortunately, while the October 24th event drew public attention and demonstrated a groundswell of grass-roots concern about environmental action, it didn't make a big impact at that fall's U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen, and negotiations for global warming initiatives faltered.
Stepping It Up
This year, 350.org decided to take its plans one step further. The group's "Global Work Day" on Sunday is designed to show that concerned members of the public aren't only interested in demonstrations, but are willing to get their hands dirty. In an interview with Daily Finance, Jamie Henn, global communications director for 350.org, was slightly more pointed in his description, noting that "We wanted to show our politicians what real work on the environment looks like."
Ultimately, though, 350.org chose October 10 because it's a catchy date that sticks in the mind. Henn also notes, however, that the date fits in well with his group's ethos: "In large part, we picked 10-10-10 because of our love of numerology and digits. After all, our name comes from another number: 350 parts per million."
Henn is referring to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide, a target number that, his group argues, represents a safe distance from the tipping point at which global warming will have irreparable effects. Currently, the number is at an estimated 387 parts per million.
While some holidays, like July 4 and October 11, commemorate specific events, most public holidays aren't tied to a specific date; rather, they represent a day on which politicians, marketers, or the public decided to celebrate a specific concern or group. In that context, October 10 might be a good, easily-remembered day for global climate action. 350.org, however, is not ready to commit to a consistent day or action just yet: "We haven't set any date for next year," Henn admits. "We plan to focus on what we think is necessary, and we're not sure if another day of action will be the most effective event at that time."