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   Date: 10/16/09 Bookmark and Share

Smith Joins International Day of Climate Action

Or, 350 reasons to be at Smith October 24

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Right now, 350 may be the most important number in the world.

350.org supporters gather for their group shot in Central Park, New York.

Scientists agree, that number—350 parts per million (ppm)—represents the uppermost safety limit of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth’s atmosphere. The earth is now sustaining approximately 390 ppm. The excess carbon in the atmosphere increases activity damaging to the earth’s natural resources, leading to melting ice caps, for example, and rapidly spreading drought—eventually endangering human habitation.

Smith will join its Five Colleges partners and 350.org in an International Day of Climate Action on Saturday, Oct. 24, with a day of activities on campus to raise awareness and rally support, all focusing on the number 350. See schedule below.

To reduce the amount of carbon back to 350 ppm will take a worldwide, coordinated campaign of decreased use of fossil fuels, at a faster rate than currently planned by the world’s governments. A good chance to move the effort forward will come this December when representatives from nations around the globe meet in Copenhagen to form a new climate treaty.

The International Day of Climate Action and 350.org is an opportunity to demonstrate global support for strong, swift climate action. Cities throughout the world will host rallies and related activities, with hundreds of smaller communities joining the push for urgent action.

Showing support for 350.org in New Delhi, India.

Smith’s Green Team is leading the college’s day of symbolic events:

Noon-2 p.m., Chapin Lawn

350 Origami Cranes Organized by the Morrow House Sustainability Committee, this campuswide competition challenges houses to raise the most awareness about 350 ppm by creating 350 paper cranes to be displayed around campus with facts about climate change.

Noon, Chapin Lawn

Bike for Climate Change Meet on Chapin Lawn, by the Campus Center. Wear spandex or green; racing signs will be provided. Bike around the college and Northampton to raise awareness about climate change, finishing back at Chapin Lawn with hot cocoa and cider. Sign up by sending email to bikes@smith.edu.

2-4 p.m., Chapin Lawn

What is 350 ppm anyway? Led by MassPIRG, students will hand out information about Climate Change and what you can do about it. To show your support, have your picture taken and added to the thousands that will be posted on 350.org.

3:50 p.m., Campus-Wide

Campus Bells will ring 350 times! Listen for the bells at 3:50 signaling the importance of the day, and calling the entire campus community together for a photograph on Chapin Lawn.

4 p.m., Chapin Lawn

Campus Photograph Join thousands worldwide in taking group photographs to show their support and urge world leaders to formulate an international climate action plan that targets 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. Wear Green!

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