350Brooklyn Urges You to Join the Fight Against Climate Change
[You can start by attending its film screening on Thursday night, 14 January - http://videologybarandcinema.com/events/350-brooklyn-presents-this-changes-everything/.]
We’ve just said good-bye to the hottest year on record. The warming of our world brings many dangers– severe droughts, floods and rising sea levels, life-threatening heat and storms, diminished supplies of food and water. Climate change is the greatest threat to peace in our conflict-prone world.
Climate change is a global problem that demands action at all levels and on many fronts. Since May 2015, 350Brooklyn has been working locally to meet the challenge.
350Brooklyn is the local affiliate of 350.org, an international climate group that takes its name from 350 parts per million of carbon, the upper limit of carbon in a healthy climate. To put that in perspective, we recently hit 400 ppm, and the carbon level is still rising.
Along with 350.org affiliates around the world, 350Brooklyn advocates switching fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) OFF and turning clean renewable energy ON. Moving as quickly as possible off carbon-based fossil fuels is essential. Scientists say that if we want a livable climate, fossil fuel companies must leave 80% of their current carbon reserves unburned. In other words, “Keep it in the ground.”
Because government action to reduce fossil fuel use has been so limited, 350.org is spearheading a worldwide campaign urging institutions to divest their fossil fuel stocks. In just a few years, 500 institutions whose holdings total $3.4 trillion have committed to divesting some or all of their fossil fuel investments.
New York State and New York City pension funds together control $350 billion in assets, and fossil fuels account for about $25 billion of that total. 350Brooklyn, along with Manhattan-based 350NYC, has gathered signatures calling for divestment. On October 30, 350Brooklyn and 350NYC staged a pre-Halloween “Fossil fuels are scary, keep them in the ground” rally outside city comptroller Scott Stringer’s office. The next evening, a 350Brooklyn contingent marched under that slogan in the Park Slope Halloween parade. Since then, all five New York City pension fund boards have committed to performing a climate-risk investment study that will consider divestment as a strategy for protecting both pensions and climate.
In our first not-quite-a-year, 350Brooklyn demonstrated at an Exxon filling station in Borough Park to protest that company’s cover-up of its scientists’ 1970s climate change findings; met to discuss Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate, Laudato Si’; and ran a teach-in on local climate issues, including coal and natural gas infrastructure in our region. Together with 350NYC and 350NJ, we organized a “Draw the Red Line” event that drew 300 participants, dressed in red, who gathered at the Statue of Liberty at the conclusion of the Paris climate talks to warn that we are entering a planetary danger zone. (You can see a film of that event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seuAEmW31Lc ).
350Brooklyn plans a wide range of activities in 2016, including lobbying in Albany, film screenings, readings, speakers, and of course a variety of protests. We meet every other Tuesday evening, usually at St. Lydia’s beautiful storefront space at 304 Bond Street (near Union Street). We plan to reach out to a broad range of community groups, and we hope that UNA Brooklyn and 350Brooklyn can work together over the coming year for a sustainable climate for all.