October 24 to mark a cornerstone for climate action

This Saturday, October 24, people from around the world will join together in more than 3,500 demonstrations in over 160 countries to bring a clear voice for science into the debate over our response to the climate crisis. This day of action, coordinated by http://350.org/ and brought about through grassroots action from around the world, is rallying around the number 350 ppm of carbon dioxide, which leading scientists now say is the limit to maintain a world similar to that which life on earth has adapted to. RPI students, faculty, and friends can join the movement by coming down to Albany to rally at the capitol.

There are two reasons that it is important to make our voices heard right now. The first is science. Several studies have come out recently stating that we are in for extreme shifts in climate if we cannot bring the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide down below 350 ppm. As our current annual concentration is over 387 ppm, we need to act swiftly to avert a crisis. We are already seeing a worsening of weather patterns and an increase in the number of catastrophic events such as floods, hurricanes, droughts, famine, and fires around the world. The second important reason we must be heard is that  this December, over 10,000 world leaders from many sectors will be meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss the global response to climate change. It must be made clear to them not only that science says we must act, but also that we are ready to act. If we are to solve the many problems which we face in the coming years, we must be able to work together toward a unified cause. This is why the meeting in Copenhagen is so important, but also why a widespread, local, grassroots effort is important. The world must address the climate crisis as a whole, but we must address it as individuals and communities as well.

The rally in Albany has, at its core, both of these efforts.  There will be a wide array of speakers, from Rep. Paul Tonko and Sen. Neil Breslin to Steven Leibo (district manager for Al Gore’s Climate Project for upstate New York and Vermont and international affairs commentator for WAMC) and Oliver Holmes (PE, LEED AP, professor of architecture at RPI) to Ward Stone (NYS wildlife pathologist) and Barbara Warren (executive director of the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition), among many others. This will be complemented by a large array of local organizations, groups, and companies who are working for a more sustainable future and will set up information tables. In this way, it will be an opportunity for people from all over to come together, make our voices heard, and learn about what is being done and what we can do at many different levels.

The rally in Albany will be located on the west lawn of the Capitol between the Capitol Building and the Alfred E. Smith building at Washington Avenue and Swan Street. A large group of people will be biking to the rally starting at Empire State Plaza at noon. Speakers will start at 2 pm. At 3:50 pm, there will be a large demonstration and photo-op to send our message around the world. The speakers, entertainers, and info tables will wrap up around 5 pm. 

You can get to the rally via the CDTA (which is free to all students), biking, or carpooling.

To learn more about the science and policy, check out http://350.org/.  

To find out more about getting involved locally, search for “NY Capital District for 350” on Facebook or Google, or e-mail 350nycap@gmail.com.