We are in a tremendous fix. We burn a lot of coal and gas and oil on a daily basis in this world—as a result, the atmospheric concentration of co2 has zoomed past the maximum safe level of 350 parts per million, and now nudges 400 ppm. As a result, the Arctic, and most of the other ice on the planet, is melting swiftly; as a result, the oceans are 30% more acidic than they were a generation ago; as a result, we see a steady and devastating increase in both flood and drought.
This is the first truly global problem that we’ve ever faced. The sources of the trouble aren’t found everywhere—many people on earth burn little or no fossil fuel—but the effects can now be found in every corner of the planet. In fact, many of the hardest hit places are ones that have done little to cause the crisis.
We don’t lack for answers: renewable energy is now a very real possibility, not just a hope. But the forces of the status quo—especially the big energy companies—do everything they can to keep us from getting there. So the world really does need to unify, in order to stand up to their millions. We’ll never outspend Exxon, but unified we can find other currencies to work in: passion, spirit, creativity. It’s been so gratifying to watch millions come together for demonstrations around the world—but this movement needs to get much bigger, to include as much of humanity as it possibly can.
Big crises can lead to big, powerful changes. Let’s hope we can make that happen here!
–Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org