McKibben Launches Site to Unite the World Around 350 PPM

Bill McKibben's latest grassroots project is the launch of, a Web portal and blog designed to focus world attention on cutting the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million.

From the Web site:

Dear friends,

350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth.

We're planning an international campaign to unite the world around the number 350, and we need your help. We need to make sure that the solutions the world proposes to climate change are to scale with the level of crisis that this number represents. Everyone on earth, from the smallest village to the cushiest corner office, needs to know what 350 means. The movement to spread that number needs to be beautiful, creative, and unstoppable.

What we need most right now are on-the-ground examples for how to take the number 350 and drive it home: in art, in music, in political demonstrations, in any other way you can imagine. We hope this project will grow tremendously in the months to come, and it helps all the more if people can see the great things others are doing already. We will connect actions all around the world and make them add up to more than the sum of their parts-but we don't have all the ideas and all the inspiration. We need you to act on yours.

McKibben the author has turned his focus to becoming a global climate change movement builder. In an interview with Environment & Energy Daily, here's what he says about his strategy (transcript):

Monica Trauzzi: In a recent article you wrote, "We need a movement. We need a political swell larger than the civil rights movement, as passionate and as willing to sacrifice. Without it, we're not going to best the fossil fuels companies and the auto makers and the rest of the vested of interests that are keeping us from change." Are all the elements coming into place now? Is that happening?

Bill McKibben: Let's hope so. I mean I'm doing what little I can. We launched last year this movement called Step It Up '07 and working with a few college students I organized about 1400 demonstrations around the country on global warming last year. And in this country we managed to get our message across. Our demand for 80 percent carbon cuts by 2050 became the centerpiece of both Obama and Clinton's energy and environmental platform and it's reflected in the Lieberman-Warner legislation making its way through Congress. Now, we're taking on the next most difficult question, which is how we're going to get the whole world behind this kind of climate stuff. We've just formed, the same crew of mine, has just formed a new group called, three, five, zero dot org, to launch a global grassroots campaign. The number refers to what the scientist Jim Hansen in particular is now telling us is the safe uppermost limit of carbon in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million. A tough number, because we're already at 385 and, you know, we've got to cut back now if we're going to have some hope of getting there. So that's what I work on a lot of the time and I turn to writers like this for kind of inspiration and guidance about what worked in the past and what didn't work in the past. We've got one more bite at this apple, so we better get it right.

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less
  • What distinguishes humans is social learning — and teaching.
  • Crucial to learning and teaching is the value of free expression.
  • And we need political leaders who support environments of social peace and cooperation.

10 paradoxes that will stretch your mind

From time-traveling billiard balls to information-destroying black holes, the world's got plenty of puzzles that are hard to wrap your head around.

Big Think
Surprising Science
  • While it's one of the best on Earth, the human brain has a lot of trouble accounting for certain problems.
  • We've evolved to think of reality in a very specific way, but there are plenty of paradoxes out there to suggest that reality doesn't work quite the way we think it does.
  • Considering these paradoxes is a great way to come to grips with how incomplete our understanding of the universe really is.
Keep reading Show less

The philosophy of tragedy & the tragedy of philosophy - with Simon Critchley

Tragedy in art, from Ancient Greece to Breaking Bad, resists all our efforts to tie reality up in a neat bow, to draw some edifying lesson from it. Instead it confronts us with our own limitations, leaving us scrabbling in the rubble of certainty to figure out what's next.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Why democracy has been unpopular with philosophers
  • Tragedy's reminder that the past isn't finished with us
  • …and why we need art in the first place
Keep reading Show less