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Connect This Dot

Climate change is serious and one often feels overwhelmed by the changes we are witnessing in our environment around us. With the launch of the climate impacts day, the 350 team in India began working on engaging partners and designing actions for May 5th. Our aim was to connect the dots between extreme weather and climate change and raise the issue for mainstream discourse in India. 

While our brainstorming on creative tactics for the day of action went well, there was another type of storm that was wrecking homes in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. For over 30 hours this past week, the residents of the Kashmir valley faced nature’s fury as strong wind storms ravaged homes and damaged hundreds of public and private properties. Was this a freak act of nature ? Or another one of the now growing number of extreme weather events around the globe as a result of climate change? Shakeel Ramsoo, a glaciologist from Kashmir told us that the weather records of the last 50-60 years indicate a growing frequency of extreme weather in the past decade in the valley. ” It is safe to conclude that such extreme weather is a direct consequence of climate change”, he said. 
  
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Cloud bursts, disappearing springs, negative impacts on fisheries and glacial lake flooding are some of the many impacts that residents are already facing. Rising carbon emissions around the globe and the resultant rise in planetary surface temperature is impacting lives of humans all around. As this movement continues to grow, we need your help to connect the dots and show our political leaders, policy makers and the general public that moving away from fossil fuels to a cleaner energy future is the only way we can mitigate the occurrence of such disasters in the years to come. With similar growing impacts across India, connecting the dots is crucial for us to raise the awareness and push for political action. 
 
Our top organizers Owais Raheem and Reetu Asrani helped gather these pictures and are planning some amazing actions in the valley. The pictures speak for themselves and these families will soon rebuild their homes but as humanity, we need to rebuild our civilization for the safety of our next generations. 
 
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State of Emergency in Fiji

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I’ve been getting desperate updates from some of our dozens of organisers in Fiji – who over the last week have been lashed by a massive storm – Tropical Storm Daphne. As I write this, the Western side of Viti Levu is literally underwater. One of our organisers sent us these photos – that show the absolute havoc wrecked by the flooding. More than 8000 people are sheltering in emergency huts, where there is the very real risk of disease breaking out. 5 people have died in the flooding, more are unaccounted for.

With just one month until Climate Impacts Day, on May 5th – the stakes have just increased yet again. The urgency for us to help the world connect the dots between extreme weather events like this in Fiji and climate change has never been greater. While our organisers in Fiji will be recovering from this devastation for months to come, May 5th will be a chance for people around the world to act in solidarity with our Fijian brothers and sisters. While your action on that day can’t stem the flow of impacts like this, it will be part of the movement we need to prevent things from getting even more disastrous.

If you’re anything like me, I get flustered sometimes by the science of climate change – as for example, how could you be sure that an intense storm like this in Fiji is caused by climate change or if it’s natural variabillity? But as Climatologist Dr Kevin Trenberth, puts it, that is the ‘wrong question':

“Scientists are frequently asked about an event “Is it caused by climate change?” The answer is that no events are “caused by climate change” or global warming, but all events have a contribution. Moreover, a small shift in the mean can still lead to very large percentage changes in extremes. In reality the wrong question is being asked: the question is poorly posed and has no satisfactory answer. The answer is that all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

It’s warmer and moister because we’re already at 392ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere — and we know that 350ppm is what we need to get us back to climate safety. May 5 is coming soon; we need to work rapidly. Because climate change is bearing down on us, and we simply can’t wait. The world needs to understand what’s happening, and you’re the people who can tell them.

Our thoughts are with everyone in Fiji, and we’ll be ready to support as the floods subside and the rebuild begins.

Over the coming couple of weeks, we’ll be releasing 1-page info sheets explaining the links between climate extremes we’ve been seeing over the last couple of years and climate change. Stay tuned on www.climatedots.org for those updates.

Source: “Framing the way to relate climate extremes to climate change” by Kevin Trenberth is downloadable from this link.

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State of Emergency in Fiji

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I’ve been getting desperate updates from some of our dozens of organisers in Fiji – who over the last week have been lashed by a massive storm – Tropical Storm Daphne’. As I write this, the Western side of Viti Levu is literally underwater. One of our organisers sent us these photos – that show the absolute havoc wrecked by the flooding. More than 8000 people are sheltering in emergency huts, where there is the very real risk of disease breaking out. 5 people have died in the flooding, more are unaccounted for.

With just one month until Climate Impacts Day, on May 5th – the stakes have just increased yet again. The urgency for us to help the world connect the dots between extreme weather events like this in Fiji and climate change has never been greater. While our organisers in Fiji will be recovering from this devastation for months to come, May 5th will be a chance for people around the world to act in solidarity with our Fijian brothers and sisters. While you’re action on that day can’t stem the flow of impacts like this, it will be part of the movement we need to prevent things from getting even more disastrous.

If you’re anything like me, I get flustered sometimes by the science of climate change – as for example, how could you be sure that an intense storm like this in Fiji is caused by climate change or if it’s natural variabillity? But as Climatologist Dr Kevin Trenberth, puts it, that is the ‘wrong question':

“Scientists are frequently asked about an event “Is it caused by climate change?” The answer is that no events are “caused by climate change” or global warming, but all events have a contribution. Moreover, a small shift in the mean can still lead to very large percentage changes in extremes. In reality the wrong question is being asked: the question is poorly posed and has no satisfactory answer. The answer is that all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

It’s warmer and moister because we’re already at 392ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere — and we know that 350ppm is what we need to get us back to climate safety. May 5 is coming soon; we need to work rapidly. Because climate change is bearing down on us, and we simply can’t wait. The world needs to understand what’s happening, and you’re the people who can tell them.

Our thoughts are with everyone in Fiji, and we’ll be ready to support as the floods subside and the rebuild begins.

Over the coming couple of weeks, we’ll be releasing 1-page info sheets explaining the links between climate extremes we’ve been seeing over the last couple of years and climate change. Stay tuned on www.climatedots.org for those updates.

Source: “Framing the way to relate climate extremes to climate change” by Kevin Trenberth is downloadable from this link.

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No longer any doubt.

We sent out this email to 350.org activists around the world — signup to receive updates at www.350.org/signup! Dear friends, Imagine one of the largest banners the world has ever seen, staked down on a California glacier with a simple message: ‘I’m Melting!’ Now imagine, at the same moment, activists in Ho Chi Minh City gathering along the Saigon River to mark the ever higher tides that are swamping homes and neighborhoods. Now imagine our friends in Hobart, Tasmania gathering along the beach to mark severe erosion from a recent series of freak storms. Now, I need you to imagine a global movement, working together on one day to connect these dots — each one a small bit of proof — and show how climate change is a clear and present danger. On May 5, we’ll be holding a day of global witness that does just that. All around the planet, at spots where climate change is already cutting deep, people will be gathering to express their anger, and their hope that the world will find a better way. At every event, people will take a photo of a gigantic dot on a sign or banner — each dot representing a local climate impact — and we’ll connect up all the dots to issue a global clarion call for climate action. Click here to learn more, and start or join an event near you for Climate Impacts Day on 5/5/12: www.climatedots.org Where I live in Vermont we’ll make a human bridge to mark the real ones swept away in last fall’s record rains; in Faridabad, India, where they have the opposite problem, they’ll gather on the banks of the drying Yamuna River. From one end of the earth to the other, we’ll rally to point out that there is no longer any doubt that burning coal and gas and oil is changing our planet. (If you want to read 593 pages of backup, please refer to the huge UN report issued on climate change and weather extremes that was released this week.) We’re not doing this as a substitute for political action — we’re in the middle of fights over everything from the Keystone XL pipeline to the Kosovo coal plant, and working hard to strip subsidies and special privileges from the fossil fuel industry around the world. But success in these fights will only come when people feel the urgency of climate change. Too often storms or droughts are seen as one-time, isolated events, even though scientist tell us they fit a pattern. We need to make that pattern visible — to connect the dots. We need people everywhere to lead local events on the 5/5/12 — people all over the world who can change the conversation around climate change. If your community is seeing the disastrous impacts of climate change already, we will use this day to show that there is a global movement standing beside you. If you have been lucky enough to avoid the worst impacts thus far, we need you too — you’ll be sounding the alarm for your community, educating your friends and neighbors, and standing with our friends around the world. Click here to register an event. From early morning on May 5, when the sun first rises in the South Pacific and our colleagues in the Marshall Islands do a daybreak dive on their damaged coral reef, we’ll be following the day around the globe, providing an endless stream of pictures and images. People around the world will upload a group photo from their local event that captures their big “climate dot.” We’ll link up those images to make a gorgeous global photo mosaic that connects all the dots from places around the world. We want you to watch — but we want you to be a part of it at some point along the day. Sign up here to register an event in your community. We’ll help you figure out what makes sense, and how to pull together the logistics, but we need your spirit of solidarity to get it going. Onwards, Bill McKibben for the whole team at 350.org P.S. Not every place is getting pounded by climate change — so but we’re also going to try and connect some of the dots of solutions emerging around the world. So if you’ve got a hopeful energy project near you, or a beautiful community garden coming into May bloom in the northern hemisphere, get your event on the map for 5/5/12!

Building a climate movement in Afghanistan isn’t easy.

It was quite stunning when Kabul popped up on the 350 action map during our first day of action in 2009. Enough so that Public Radio International picked-up on the story as well–click here to listen to the great interview with Afghan 350 organizer Sayed Masood back in 2009. And it was even more remarkable to see the local 350 efforts in Kabul carry on into 2010, when the local team organized a tree-planting event on the outskirts of the city.

Events were planned in Kabul as part of last year’s Moving Planet as well, but the reality is that it has proven immensely challenging for Sayed Masood and other 350 leaders there to expand the climate movement and efforts began to wane in the last year. It should be clear enough as to why circumstances there make climate organizing tough (put extremely mildly).

That is why it has been such a great inspiration these past couple of weeks to learn, despite the ongoing bad news we hear from the country, that Sayed Masood and his friends are once again gearing up for more climate action in Afghanistan. Sayed Masood got back in touch a few weeks ago, just at about the same time that another young Afghan student in the United States contacted us, interested in spreading 350 back home. Together, preparations are underway for Climate Impacts Day on 5/5/12 — and not only in Kabul, but also in a more remote Takhar province in the North, and perhaps elsewhere too.

At the top of the agenda for connecting the dots is drought and water scarcity. Farid, one of the new members of the team, explained to me via skype yesterday that in fact it’s sort of a double impact issue. First there’s the drought conditions forcing rural farmers to leave their land and move to Kabul, and then there’s over-consumption of water in Kabul making water scarcity a challenge there as well.

What sort of visual dot will be planned for 5/5/12 in Kabul, Takhar, or elsewhere in Afghanistan is still being planned, but it’s extraordinarily motivating to know we’re preparing for this day alongside our friends in Afghanistan. Thank you to the 350 Afghanistan movement for showing us what real dedication means in the face of big odds.

Connecting the Dots Between Extreme Weather and Climate Change

On Wednesday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release a detailed, new report that helps connect the dots between extreme weather events and climate change. The findings confirm what millions of us around the world are beginning to see with our own eyes: climate change isn’t a future problem anymore, it’s happening here and now. 

Here at 350.org, we think that starting to make the connection between extreme weather and climate change is crucial. Last week, we announced plans for a new global day of action called “Climate Impacts Day” for people from the flood zones of Pakistan to the drought stricken fields of Texas to come together and “Connect the Dots” between extreme weather and other impacts, climate change, and the root causes of the crisis. 

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Events are already beginning to come in from around the world. In the Marshall Islands, people will dive down to a coral reef damaged by bleaching and storms. In Jordan, activists will host an event in drought stricken regions of the country that are crucial for food production. In North Dakota, USA, park rangers and local citizens will come together in a forest ravaged by the pine beetle, an invasive species that is spreading due to warmer temperatures. And much, much more. 

The new IPCC report helps provide the scientific foundation for the discussion we hope Climate Impacts Day helps spark. The special report on extreme weather was authored by 220 authors from 62 countries and incorporates 18,784 review comments. The IPCC put together a helpful video that explains the work that went into the report, some of its key findings, and how policy makers can use the information to better prevent and adapt the impacts of the climate crisis. 

The new report confirms the link between climate change and certain examples of extreme weather, especially heat related impacts (such as drought), impacts due to sea level rise (storm surges and flooding), and disasters due to increased precipitation (such as heavy rain, mudslides, and more). 

The report also makes clear that poor countries are bearing the brunt of climate impacts, especially in places where large numbers of people live in densely low-lying coastal zones. Even highly developed countries aren’t ready to handle an increase in extreme weather events, however. The United States, for example, experienced at least $55 billion in total damages from weather-related disasters in 2011 according to a new report by Environment America

Our team at 350.org took at some of this recent research, as well as previous studies, and put together an infographic that visualizes some of the recent trends and weather events that have occured around the planet. Below is a small piece of the infographic, click on the image to view the whole thing: 

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Getting the discussion going about the potential connections between extreme weather and climate change is also an effective way to educate more people about the climate crisis. This  video of a satirical oped written by Bill McKibben, for example, got over 140,000 views soon after it was released: 

For many people, climate change can feel like a very distant and future problem. Yet, as more weird weather sweeps the planet —  more than 2,000 high temperature records in the United States have been tied or broken since March 1, 2012 — people are beginning to ask important questions about what’s happening to our planet and why. 

It’s time to start connecting the dots

Connecting the Dots Between Extreme Weather and Climate Change

On Wednesday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release a detailed, new report that helps connect the dots between extreme weather events and climate change. The findings confirm what millions of us around the world are beginning to see with our own eyes: climate change isn’t a future problem anymore, it’s happening here and now. 

Here at 350.org, we think that starting to make the connection between extreme weather and climate change is crucial. Last week, we announced plans for a new global day of action called “Climate Impacts Day” for people from the flood zones of Pakistan to the drought stricken fields of Texas to come together and “Connect the Dots” between extreme weather and other impacts, climate change, and the root causes of the crisis. 

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Events are already beginning to come in from around the world. In the Marshall Islands, people will dive down to a coral reef damaged by bleaching and storms. In Jordan, activists will host an event in drought stricken regions of the country that are crucial for food production. In North Dakota, USA, park rangers and local citizens will come together in a forest ravaged by the pine beetle, an invasive species that is spreading due to warmer temperatures. And much, much more. 

The new IPCC report helps provide the scientific foundation for the discussion we hope Climate Impacts Day helps spark. The special report on extreme weather was authored by 220 authors from 62 countries and incorporates 18,784 review comments. The IPCC put together a helpful video that explains the work that went into the report, some of its key findings, and how policy makers can use the information to better prevent and adapt the impacts of the climate crisis. 

The new report confirms the link between climate change and certain examples of extreme weather, especially heat related impacts (such as drought), impacts due to sea level rise (storm surges and flooding), and disasters due to increased precipitation (such as heavy rain, mudslides, and more). 

The report also makes clear that poor countries are bearing the brunt of climate impacts, especially in places where large numbers of people live in densely low-lying coastal zones. Even highly developed countries aren’t ready to handle an increase in extreme weather events, however. The United States, for example, experienced at least $55 billion in total damages from weather-related disasters in 2011 according to a new report by Environment America

Our team at 350.org took at some of this recent research, as well as previous studies, and put together an infographic that visualizes some of the recent trends and weather events that have occured around the planet. Below is a small piece of the infographic, click on the image to view the whole thing: 

189

Getting the discussion going about the potential connections between extreme weather and climate change is also an effective way to educate more people about the climate crisis. This  video of a satirical oped written by Bill McKibben, for example, got over 140,000 views soon after it was released: 

For many people, climate change can feel like a very distant and future problem. Yet, as more weird weather sweeps the planet —  more than 2,000 high temperature records in the United States have been tied or broken since March 1, 2012 — people are beginning to ask important questions about what’s happening to our planet and why. 

It’s time to start connecting the dots

The New Normal?

179 You may not have noticed, but yesterday was the last official day of winter in the US. Yup, with week-long 80 degree record temperatures in Chicago, and hundreds of other local records set in places like Oklahoma, Minnesota, Illinois and up and down the East Coast, we’re skipping spring, and going right to summer. Some folks may be thinking to themselves “I love this weather,” but for those in parts of the midwest, where 35 tornadoes touched down in 24 hours–some of the first to ever touch down in March–the heat wave has left a path destruction.

Warm temperatures alone don’t cause extreme weather–moisture in the air, atmospheric patterns and high winds all contribute to it–but warm air caused by climate change adds to this dangerous cocktail because it feeds an already out-of-whack system. Is this the new normal? After an explosive fall, with Hurricane Irene, droughts in the Southwest, and Texas Wildfires, what might the spring and summer bring?    

Weather forecasters can’t project out too far, but climatologists’ warnings are becoming louder and more urgent. Whereas a few years ago, scientists said that emitting too much CO2 meant humans were “loading the dice” on weather events, making them more erratic and more severe. Now, many scientists say we’re “painting more dots” on the weather dice, essentially making every weather event more destructive.

This isn’t an abstraction, and it’s not in the future–this is happening now. In 2011, the deadliest weather disaster that you never heard of was the drought and famine that caused over 30,000 deaths in East Africa–which was soon followed by flooding in Thailand that cost the country $45bn, roughly 18% of the country’s GDP, and raised the price of rice globally. Right here in the US, Hurricane Irene, Midwest Tornado outbreaks, Joplin and the southwest drought and fires cost us nearly $40bn.

So my question: when do we start connecting the dots? When do we stop “suspecting” that something’s up, and internalize what this heat wave and weather events are showing us? I, for one, am beginning to understand that the “new normal” isn’t really tenable for humans on the planet. And that fossil fuel companies and their spokespeople in Congress who aren’t connecting the dots, and denying reality are starting to resemble members of the Flat Earth Society. If our leaders refuse to do it, we need to connect the dots for them.

The New Normal?

179 You may not have noticed, but yesterday was the last official day of winter in the US. Yup, with week-long 80 degree record temperatures in Chicago, and hundreds of other local records set in places like Oklahoma, Minnesota, Illinois and up and down the East Coast, we’re skipping spring, and going right to summer. Some folks may be thinking to themselves “I love this weather,” but for those in parts of the midwest, where 35 tornadoes touched down in 24 hours–some of the first to ever touch down in March–the heat wave has left a path destruction.

Warm temperatures alone don’t cause extreme weather–moisture in the air, atmospheric patterns and high winds all contribute to it–but warm air caused by climate change adds to this dangerous cocktail because it feeds an already out-of-whack system. Is this the new normal? After an explosive fall, with Hurricane Irene, droughts in the Southwest, and Texas Wildfires, what might the spring and summer bring?    

Weather forecasters can’t project out too far, but climatologists’ warnings are becoming louder and more urgent. Whereas a few years ago, scientists said that emitting too much CO2 meant humans were “loading the dice” on weather events, making them more erratic and more severe. Now, many scientists say we’re “painting more dots” on the weather dice, essentially making every weather event more destructive.

This isn’t an abstraction, and it’s not in the future–this is happening now. In 2011, the deadliest weather disaster that you never heard of was the drought and famine that caused over 30,000 deaths in East Africa–which was soon followed by flooding in Thailand that cost the country $45bn, roughly 18% of the country’s GDP, and raised the price of rice globally. Right here in the US, Hurricane Irene, Midwest Tornado outbreaks, Joplin and the southwest drought and fires cost us nearly $40bn.

So my question: when do we start connecting the dots? When do we stop “suspecting” that something’s up, and internalize what this heat wave and weather events are showing us? I, for one, am beginning to understand that the “new normal” isn’t really tenable for humans on the planet. And that fossil fuel companies and their spokespeople in Congress who aren’t connecting the dots, and denying reality are starting to resemble members of the Flat Earth Society. If our leaders refuse to do it, we need to connect the dots for them.