News / USA

Global Activities Celebrate Climate Solutions

On October 10 of this year, known commonly as 10/10/10, people around the world rallied for the environment. In Afghanistan they planted trees, and in China university students engaged in a clean energy competition.

In Washington environmental activists, scientists and everyday citizens rallied outside the White House for climate action. They want the president to do more than just talk about environmental policy.

"Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks," Mr. Obama said.

They want him to take action. "This is the most important [thing] humanity has ever seen, somebody make some noise!!!," one person said.

Friends of the Earth sponsored the event. President Eric Pica said the Washington event was just one of many on 10/10/10.  "We're all over Europe, we are getting photos in from Africa and South America.  It truly is a global event," he said.

Climatologist and former NASA scientist Jim Hansen spoke to the crowd about the danger of failing to curb the planet's carbon dependency.

"We could cause a future sea level rise of many meters, we would drive a large fraction of the species on the planet to extinction.  And this is going to happen in the lifetime of our children and grandchildren.  We really need to get the government to understand that and do something about it," he said.

Not everyone agrees. Walter Cunningham an astronaut and former colleague at NASA has been particularly critical of Hansen, calling him a 'political activist who spreads fear' because of his outspokenness on climate issues.  

Nevertheless, Pica says, the United States is historically the highest emitter of greenhouse gas. "So we have a responsibility not only in leading in our own reductions but helping in helping communities around the world deal with the pollution that we have already emitted into the air," he said.  

Hansen says China produces the second highest emission levels in the world, but that China, unlike the United States, is on the right track.

"They are investing a tremendous amount of energy in solar power, wind power, nuke [nuclear] power.  They are now number one in construction of all of those.  And they have just agreed to have a carbon tax," he said.  

Across town, Roadside Organics hosted a block party to raise awareness about the environmental and health benefits of eating locally-grown foods.  

"10/10/10 is a global action day, we're all celebrating climate solutions and food is really an integral part of that.  We moved to these global distribution routes for our food and so much we've lost," said the group's co-founder, Nicholas Wiseman.

Advocates want people to eat a diet of more local and seasonal foods, instead of shipping in products from across the country - and around the world. Wiseman says the way people eat has a huge effect on the environment and the festivities were a way to get that message across. "This is all relevant to climate.  Industrial agriculture is the greatest contributor to climate change that is out there," he said.

The block party featured free local food and a performance by Togo-born, D.C. hip hop artist Tabi Bonney.

Wiseman says the event was a success, because it brought together Washington's diverse community to celebrate climate solutions.

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