Nearly 2,000 people attended an evening event in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday night (with thousands more joining online) in order to hear 350.org explain the strategy and thinking behind the next phase of the group’s ongoing international climate campaign, including a series of actions leading up to the UN climate summit in Paris later this year — as well as a bold vision that goes well beyond.
Under the banner “Off & On”—shorthand for the idea that the climate movement intends to “turn off” the fossil fuel industry while “turning on” the 100% renewable energy economy—the live-streamed event featured prominent 350 leaders—including board member Naomi Klein, co-founder Bill McKibben, and executive director May Boeve—alongside other key allies from the international climate movement, some of whom appeared on stage and others who spoke to the audience remotely.
Described as “part science lecture, part concert, part political rally,” the event was a kind of singular follow-up to the group’s 2012 ‘Do The Math’ tour which helped popularize the idea that a large majority of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if humanity hopes to avoid the very worst impacts of planetary warming and climate change.
With the UN Conference of the Parties conference (COP21) set to begin at the end of November, the campaigners made it clear that though the high-level talks—which aim to secure a global agreement for world governments to curb emissions and otherwise address the crisis—remain important, the real battles for climate justice and system change are not likely to be solved in Paris.
“We’re laying out a strategy that we think can have a profound impact on our politicians, while keeping power in the hands of the people, so we can create the change we need to see,” said Boeve. “This show marks the start of a campaign to supercharge our movement and take the fight right to the source of the problem.”
According to McKibben, 350 and its allies are “going to use mass action and divestment to keep turning off dirty energy, and turn on cheap, clean renewable power all over the world.” Their roadmap, he said, leads beyond “the Paris talks and straight to one of the biggest days of resistance we’ve ever engaged in.”
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