The number 350 is significant because 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is considered a safe level for the planet and the level necessary for a stable climate. While the concentration was 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution, it is now 387 ppm and climbing. The elevated level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a major cause of climate change.
Over 40 congregation members old and young took a turn pulling the bell rope and setting our big brass bell ringing our with our call to action. At the same time 55 members of the congregation signed a petition urging our elected representatives to take immediate action to address climate change through government policy, law and regulation.
From our faith tradition we bring a call to be good stewards of the earth – God's creation – and all the creatures that share this planet. We are also instructed by our faith to care for the poor and the hungry and climate change is already affecting these populations the most severely. We intend to make changes in our individual and corporate energy practices. We want to see new energy policies and incentives in our society to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We want to see global cooperation to address this crisis.
Bill McKibben, the author and environmentalist, is coordinating the worldwide 350 campaign.
“In December of 2009, the world's leaders will meet in Copenhagen to forge an international agreement on global warming,” McKibben said. “So people in every country on earth are mobilizing to make sure that they don't bend to the special interests and instead meet the targets science has laid out. African villages are planting 350 trees at the edge of town; we've even had people planning 350-mile marches to bear witness to this message.”
In New England many UCC and Episcopal churches are participating in the action of ringing their church bells 350 times.