Thousands of people across the globe will march, bike, board and peddle on Saturday in an effort to get the planet moving in a new direction—toward a cleaner energy future.
The global movement is the third such effort organized by 350.org, which has also been endorsed by other environmental groups including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Rainforest Action Network. With events planned in at least 168 countries on Saturday, some really creative efforts are taking shape.
For instance, in the Dominican Republic, students will paint the first-ever bike lane in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital. In Ukraine, at Kiev’s main square, people will gather in a flash-mob-style coordinated dance. And in Indonesia, cyclists plan to ride for a whopping 350 hours from Bali to Bandung, where they will participate in a clean energy rally.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, New York City cyclists will bike to the United Nations headquarters for a rally in support of a global climate treaty.
Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, wrote to supporters in an email that a “feeling of being stuck is how we’ve felt in the climate movement for years now.” He continues:
The scientists have told us why we must change—and every record flood and heat wave adds to their message. The engineers have told us how we can change, as they’ve quickly turned windmills and solar panels from promising experiments into tested technology. The only thing now preventing change is the hold of the financially powerful status quo—all those coal and oilbarons, and their friends in high government places, keeping us stuck in the polluting mud of inaction.
McKibben also drew from the Arab Spring movements for inspiration, writing: “Our friends in Tunisia, Egypt, and throughout the Middle East have proven that change can come quickly. The greatest achievements have been without violence, but not without sacrifice.”
And Egyptian youth will continue to inspire on Saturday as they take part in the Moving Planet campaign in a big way.
“One of our largest events is in Cairo is being led by a group of Egyptian youth, many of whom took part in the Egyptian revolution earlier this year,” said Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org. “And they are now coming together to use from their new freedoms to really advocate for a sustainable future for their country.”
Students and climate activists in Cairo plan to march in blue shirts to represent a “human Nile River”, calling for protection for water resources.
Such a global mass movement—one in support of the scientific consensus around the human-related causes of climate change—comes at a significant time as some high-profile figures in the U.S. continue to deny the reality of climate change.
Former President Bill Clinton chastised those who refute the scientific facts this week, saying the “best thing” Americans can do “is to make it politically unacceptable to engage in denial.”
“We look like a joke,” he said. “You can’t win the nomination of one of our parties if you accept the science. It’s really tragic.”
Thankfully, hundreds of young Americans—and thousands of young people worldwide—aren’t buying it, and instead are becoming active to move the conversation away from those ideas.
“The amazing thing, and what has been unique about it, is seeing that there have been hundreds of thousands of young people around the world who are looking to connect with each other and take part of events like this,” Henn said.
So get connected—and get the planet moving.