5/13/2008

Not everything is about US. How about this: 350, the number to beat.

Not everything is about us, the "us" being Anglicans. Some thought needs to be given to the miserable state of the planet, and in particular the moral imperatives that humankind have to attend to its health. This is where the number 350 comes in.

The folks over at Titus One Nine (T19) glean lots of stuff from around the web that they think might interest readers in Anglican Blog Land. This week they aimed our browsers over to the Los Angles Times and an article by Bill McKibben titled, "Civilization's last chance."

It is absolutely worth the read. Thanks to T19 for pointing us there.

Here is the upshot of the matter: McKibben believes that unless we can bring the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down from 38o parts per million to 350 parts per million in the immediate future, civilization will be a past tense affair.

He bases his belief on work done by NASA's James Hanson who wrote, "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm."

McKibben comments at the close of this article, "People will doubtless survive on a non-350 planet, but those who do will be so preoccupied, coping with the endless unintended consequences of an overheated planet, that civilization may not.
Civilization is what grows up in the margins of leisure and security provided by a workable relationship with the natural world. That margin won't exist, at least not for long, as long as we remain on the wrong side of 350. That's the limit we face."
McKibben wants the world to wake up and get with the program - the program being to reduce the carbon dioxide levels to below 35o parts per million. He has a website devoted to the matter, www.350.org, go visit. Sign up. Push to lower the number. Remember, too, that civilization, with all its discontents, is still the context in which most of our mutterings as Anglicans take place.

What do you think?

5 comments:

  1. I found the comments interesting, to say the least.

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  2. He is probably right, unless the people on the other side are right, and we end up in a little ice age. What will it be, ice or fire?

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  3. There are times when I think civilization is already over and that it ended in August 1914, but that's a different matter.
    The time has come when we realize (I hope not too late) that the earth is our responsibility. That if we do not assume that responsibility, then any kind of life that we would recognize as humane will be impossible.

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  4. Good posting, Mark. This has long been a concern of mine. Marilyn

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  5. I like the use of a concrete statistic - 350 - to help promote the cause. And I will sign up... as soon as the temperature drops below 100 degrees here... evidence of the problem we face. How willing am I to give up some air conditioning? Apparently not willing enough, yet! Thanks for the nudge, though.

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