October 10, 2010--or 10/10/10--is an important day for more than just number aficionados. It's being called a Global Work Party, and it's a day to reflect on the current state of the global environment, to get mad, and then to get busy. On this day, thousands of concerned citizens in more than 145 countries will join forces with 350.org (http://www.350.org) and American author/activist Bill McKibben (http://www.350.org/bill) with three goals in mind: 1) to raise awareness about the urgency of the climate crisis, 2) to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change, and 3) to show world leaders that change IS possible.
This past year has demonstrated that there's plenty to be upset about: a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, choking wildfires in Russia, all-time temperature highs in Asia, devastating mudslides in China, and sea ice melting faster than a popsicle on a hot summer day, to name just a few. Despite what skeptics and naysayers might argue, the effects of climate change are real, and they are happening right NOW, at an incredible cost to human lives.
350.org is an international campaign that's building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis. The number 350 is a reference to the parts per million of CO2 that the world's top climate scientists say we must get below in order to sustain life as we know it on earth. On a local level, two groups of college students are working around the clock towards the same goals that 350.org advocates. At UCLA, the students are part of an organization called E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity (http://www.e3la.org) and at Loyola Marymount University, the students call themselves EcoStudents (http://www.lmu.edu/sites/Community_home/green/Campus_Groups___Committees.htm).
On 10/10/10, E3 and EcoStudents members will come together to take action. We will ride our bikes from UCLA and LMU to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles to take part in a rally (http://www.350.org/no-more-dirty-coal-and-oil) organized by the Sierra Club entitled "Kick Oil and Coal OUT of LA!", sending the message to our elected officials that too much time has already been wasted, and the time to transition to clean sources of power is NOW. After the rally, we will journey on two wheels back to the Westwood Native Foods location, where we will continue the call to transition the world off of oil by raising money for the biggest environmental disaster in US history: the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
We have chosen to raise money for the National Wildlife Federation's Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund (http://www.nwf.org/Oil-Spill/On-the-Ground.aspx). The devastating spill, which woke up the world to the true cost of fossil fuels, made headlines for several months following the initial catastrophe on April 20, but recently it has faded out of the mainstream media, and donations to relief efforts have dwindled accordingly. However, the need for funds to clean up the mess has not disappeared. The NWF is an inspirational organization with experience working in the sensitive Gulf ecosystem. Before the spill, the NWF already had a team working on Central Louisiana restoration efforts, and this group of dedicated experts has since taken charge of the organization's efforts to deal with the oil spill. (See this video about the NWF's work: http://www.youtube.com/user/NationalWildlife#p/u/2/wFx-t7skpIg) Donations to the NWF's fund, which will be collected at the Westwood Native Foods on 10/10/10, will go towards 3 main efforts:
1. Search and Rescue- track and report on the impacts of the oil spill, support wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and restore damaged delicate coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico
2. Raise Awareness- use various media channels to alert the public about the devastating impact of the spill on people, wildlife, and the coast
3. Speak Up-be a voice for the wildlife that call the Gulf home; these animals are among the most impacted by this disaster, yet they are the least able to advocate for themselves
We invite you to join us on 10/10/10 at the Westwood Native Foods and to contribute whatever you can to this incredibly important cause. Just by eating the delicious vegan food at Native Foods, you will already be doing a favor for the environment (eating a plant-based diet is the single most influential thing you can do to help the earth). Double your eco-warrior impact--and show your politicians how easy it is--by giving generously to this fund. We thank you on behalf of the entire Gulf community!