On Saturday, October 24, students and activists around the country took part in 350.org's international day of climate action, the largest day of international political action ever. They rallied their peers to come together and send a message to policymakers that we need aggressive climate policy now.
People from 181 countries took photos of their event, which will be delivered to decision-makers at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in December. We are calling for policy that limits atmospheric carbon to 350 parts per million (ppm), its highest sustainable concentration. We're currently at about 390 ppm, so reaching this goal will require sustained action from all of us AND meaningful policy from world leaders.
By divesting $1 billion from unsustainable and greenhouse gas-intensive agricultural practices and investing it in a real food economy, the Real Food Challenge is curbing climate change. Our Regional Field Organizers took the charge to rally students and community members around the link between climate change and agriculture, which contributes about 1/3 of all greenhouse gases. And their efforts paid off: in each of 5 regions throughout the country, students took part in 350.org actions. Student leaders held picnics, rallied, coordinated flash mobs, and petitioned to make real change to our food system. Read on for examples of these actions!
Students at California State University, Northridge, pictured at right, harvested oranges from trees on campus as part of their Campus Sustainability Day. They donated the oranges to a local food pantry, discussed the link between climate change and agriculture, and submitted photos to 350.org's photo petition.
De Anza College in Cupertino held a flash mob where students on campus froze for 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Students there are planning a follow-up real food dinner and panel about food and climate change.
Students at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, OR, led a parade of students to a drum rally downtown. Before the rally, they hosted a table with facts about agriculture and climate change that featured cookies baked at 350 degrees and 450 degrees.
Students from the University of Montana and Montana State University converged in Livingston, MT, for an annual meeting of the Alternative Energy Resource Organization (AERO). Students at the convergence focused on renewable energy and sustainable agriculture and participated in the 350.org photo petition, shown below.
At the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, students involved with the Real Food Challenge tabled at a campus-wide 350 event. They encouraged students to sign a petition for sustainable food on campus and used cookies baked at 350 and 450 degrees to start conversation.
Students picnicked at Loyola University in Chicago to discuss real food while enjoying real food. They co-hosted a table with Oxfam and displayed signs with facts about climate change and food. Many of the people they spoke with were surprised to learn that our food system contributes so much to climate change.
Students at City College New York, pictured at left, held a public rally to increase awareness about climate change and agriculture. They also participated in 350.org's photo petition, posing with flags from countries in the global south to show solidarity for policy that calls on the global north to change its current practices.
Community members in Louisville, KY, held an earth celebration. One individual dressed up in a peapod costume to spur discussion about food and climate change.
A church group in the Virginia Peninsula held a no-waste lunch and auction centered on the number 350. It was the group's first-ever no-waste event!
These are just a few stories from many meaningful actions that took place on Saturday, October 24. It's now time to draw on the energy created by this historic day of action and push our schools to invest their dollars in a real food economy. Let's continue this momentum!