Yesterday was a once in a lifetime date. The tenth day of the tenth month in the tenth year of a new millennium will not come around for another 1,000 years, and it is doubtful at the rate we are going, humanity will be around to commemorate the next 10-10-10. Because of the uniqueness of yesterday’s date, acclaimed climate change hero Bill McKibben and his non-profit organization 350.org decided to make 10-10-10 a global work day for citizens of Planet Earth to join together and participate in activities to combat the greatest human-precipitated environmental cataclysm of all time, global climate change.
By any accounting, the day was an incredible success. 7,347 events in 188 countries across the Earth were attended by hundreds of thousands of people. In the remote deserts of Namibia, a small school installed 6 solar panels. In the Maldives, President Nasheed personally installed solar panels on the presidential home. In Malawi, university students planted trees to sequester carbon. In South Africa, penguins rescued from an oil spill were rehabilitated and released. Malaysia cleaned a beach of plastics and debris to raise public awareness. 30,000 students from 200 colleges in China organized to launch a “Great Green Initiative.” In the Marshall Islands, citizens gathered to plant native trees as part of a reforestation campaign. Israelis rollerbladed for a day rather than driving cars. In Uganda, 1,600 students planted trees and installed solar panels. Chilean citizens tested new solar water heaters. New Zealanders organized a bicycle repair workshop. In Bhutan, school children cleaned a river. Australians promoted backyard vegetable gardens and built wheelchair accessible raised vegetable beds for the handicapped. In India, students organized a bike rally to promote sustainable transportation. Nepalese youth planted trees. The list goes on.
10-10-10 was an autumn day unlike any other in history for a variety of reasons. It marked the end of the hottest summer of the hottest year of the hottest decade in the history of humanity. It marked the end of the largest summer polar ice melt. In Pakistan the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth, 129 degrees Farenheit, was reached in the summer of 2010. 19 nations achieved all time high temperature records. Record temperatures, killer storms and 1,000 year floods have become regular events. The debate is over. Climate change is real, and we are seeing its effects now. If we do not reduce the current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from a current level of 387 parts per million to 350 parts per million, we will be creating an atmosphere which is not conducive to the maintenance of complex life.
The people of Earth are earnest in their sincere desire for action. 10-10-10 was the day of the single largest global environmental demonstration of all time. How did the corporate, mainstream media respond? Silence. Those watching the Sunday morning news programs eager to see the ingenuity and dedication of their fellow global citizens were sorely disappointed. The significance of the day, according to Good Morning America, Today and The Early Show, was the large number of weddings taking place. On 10-11-10, the news programs were equally conspicuously silent on the subject.
In the United States, 10-10-10 events took place in all fifty states, some elected officials may have taken place somewhere, but the media certainly didn’t report on it here in Franklin, NC. Has there ever been another event of such far-reaching proportion that wasn’t attended by public “servants” or the media?
The monumental efforts of the citizens of Earth are by no means undermined by the mainstream media and political inaction, but the contrast is telling. Fortunately, the internet is still a free and open source of information, and internet sites were buzzing with excitement over the overwhelming global participation. The people’s media responded with appropriate enthusiasm, while the corporate media was mum. The corporate-sponsored politicians were also mum. The Democratic Congress with a Democratic President has had almost two years to enact climate change legislation, and they have done nothing because BP and Exxon sign their campaign contribution checks too.
“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder (George Washington).”
We cannot sit back and hope our elected officials will ever do anything just because they promised to. They won’t. We need to give them no choice with voices so loud they cannot be ignored. We can and should call our political representatives and give them an earful. Write letters to them letting them know how disappointed you are with their inaction. Don’t donate to their campaigns until they listen. Keep writing letters. Don’t be as silent as the inept media. Then go out, install solar panels where you can, grow your own food if you can, ride your bike to work, plant trees and come up with new ways to combat the rising levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that threaten to leave a hell on the planet that was once paradise. If our politicians and media will not be moved to action, we will have to do it ourselves.
Go to http://www.350.org/ to see photos from all of the events of 10-10-10 and for more information on how you can help.