Setting a mark for C02

Despite the rainy weather, UVM students and Burlington citizens gathered in front of the Davis Center to help raise global awareness about climate change.Lying down in the wet grass, they collectively spelled out a large “350 VERMONT,” hoping to raise awareness of the high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Mostly due to excessive burning of fossil fuels, the atmospheric concentration of Co2 is currently at about 390 parts per million.After observing numerous alarming signs of climate change, leading climatologists released a series of studies showing that if the atmospheric concentrations of Co2 remain above 350 parts per million, our planet will face both human and natural disaster.The photo, taken on Oct. 24,  was added to 350’s website, where a massive collection of similar protest photos were posted from around the world. “This is the first time it’s happened and the newspapers today are calling it the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history,” 350 founder Bill McKibben said.”There will be 4,600 events in 177 countries,” McKibben said.McKibben took the first steps toward the creation of 350 Day in 2007 when he and a group of Middlebury students marched to raise awareness about climate change.Their activism culminated in a pledge by governor Jim Douglas and other Vermont leadersto take a firm stance on fighting climate change in Vermont.Two years later, 350 Day was born and on that rainy Sunday, nearly every country on the globe came together in hopes to stress the severity of the ailing environment as the date of the UN Climate Negotiations steadily approaches.”The picture was awesome and I was excited to be a part of it,” freshman Amy Pennock said.All of the 350 Day photos submitted to the website were projected at the UN headquarters and were also put up on the big screens in Times Square.Shortly after the photograph had been taken, a mob of rain-booted citizens left UVM’s campus to bring their protest to the people of downtown Burlington.”You’ve all taken part in the biggest day of political activism in the history of the world,” organizer and activist Tom Mertz said to the participants.Participants then gathered in the Firehouse Gallery across the street where artists displayed environmentally related work in honor of the occasion.  “The world is wondrous and alive and I try to show this to people through my art,” featured artist Rebecca Schwartz said.Orin Langelle, of the global justice ecology project, said that his organization has been taking part in UN debates on climate change since 2004. One of the main problems, he said, is that the issue is often looked over in favor of more immediate economic goals, a decision that could have detrimental effects. “You can’t bail out a dead planet,” he said.Langelle stressed the importance of bringing these issues to the upcoming UN environmental treaty conference in Copenhagen.The 350 website stressed this as one of the day’s goals.”We can hold our decision makers accountable to producing a treaty that is strong, equitable and grounded in the latest science,” it stated.April Hillman, along with 26 students from across the nation, will be attending the conference in December.”Environmental problems of today need to be addressed immediately, before they can begin to affect the livelihoods of our future generations,” she said.