Saturday, October 24, 2009
350: It's a number that may ensure our survival as a species, according to a number of leading climate scientists. If we can keep our carbon dioxide levels below that figure in the atmosphere, then we may be able to slow and even stop climate change and global warming.
Loss of ice caps. Unpredictable and violent weather. Loss of habitat. These are the probable outcomes of global warming.
Closer to home, a rise in the ocean levels could inundate Cannery Row and downtown Monterey. It's a hard concept to imagine, a more difficult idea to accept.
Today, October 24, a number of climate scientists and concerned citizens are hoping that we can all rally around the idea of 350 parts per million, attaching a number to our common vernacular around climate change.
Worldwide it is estimated that over 5,200 events in 181 countries will call for a clear solution to the climate crisis: reducing the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere below 350 parts per million.
Environmental writer/activist Bill McKibben, who wrote The End of Nature back in 1989, considered the first book for a general audience about global warming, has been a leading advocate for the 350 movement. McKibben is now a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, and a frequent visitor to Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS).