Kicking Off a Global Work Party to Tackle Climate Change

Kicking Off a Global Work Party to Tackle Climate Change

When it comes to tackling climate change, Congress could sure use a lesson from businesses and communities across the U.S. and around the world. Over the last few years, innovative climate solutions have been springing up all across the planet.

You've read about many of those solutions right here at GreenBiz.com, from the Benedictine nuns installing solar panels on their monastery to the engineers at Tesla building the next generation of electric car.

This October 10, our international climate campaign, 350.org, is organizing the 10/10/10 Global Work Party to profile innovative climate solutions across the planet. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, people are finding ways to get to work on local solutions and a clear message to their political leaders: We're rolling up our sleeves and working on solving this problem, what are you doing?

Water bearersAt 350.org, we've got a bit of a background in doing these big days of action. Last October 24, we coordinated over 5,200 events in more than 180 countries in support of a scientific target: 350 parts per million, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that our leading scientists deem safe for a planet "similar to that on which civilization developed and life on earth is adapted." As you may have guessed, we're well above the 350 benchmark right now. We've pumped enough pollution into the atmosphere to get CO2 concentrations up to 390 ppm, which is why Russia is on fire, Pakistan is underwater, and just about everything on Earth is melting.

Transforming 350 from a scientific data point into a global rallying cry -- one friend called it the Nike swoosh of environmental activism -- was only possible with the help of thousands of organizations, community groups, and businesses around the world.

Last year, our friends at Camelback and Patagonia donated products with information about 350 ppm and how customers could get involved in the campaign. The good folks over at Keen and NRG Systems organized rallies with their employees as part of our international day of climate action. The team at North Face made a great video with their employees and donated warm jackets and hats for a group of youth from developing countries who were attending the frigid Copenhagen climate talks in December. Our long time supporters over at Clif Bar probably summed it up best:

"As a food company, Clif Bar & Company understands that we have a responsibility to our planet and communities. That's why we are working to understand the impact of everything we do from the field to the final product-- from our commitment to organic ingredients; to engaging with people who make, package and transport our food; to partnering, supporting, and collaborating with people and organizations who share our vision. We support the climate action work of 350.org. In fact, we are hosting an in house challenge during the 350 hours leading up to the International Day of Action to encourage employees to be mindful of their impacts and to make changes wherever possible— be it riding their bike to work, eating organic foods or reducing their energy use at home."

This year, for the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, we want to keep highlighting the businesses that are doing the most to help get us back to that 350 ppm target. We see innovative, sustainable businesses as a key partner in this effort: it's one of the reasons we put such an emphasis on "work" for this year's campaign.

The best way to get your business involved is by signing up an event for 10/10/10. There's no one action we're asking everyone to take, instead we want you to think about the most meaningful way you can get to work on solving the climate crisis.

Maybe you can retrofit a company building, donate a set of solar panels to a local school and install them on October 10, get your employees involved in planting trees, or organize a tour of a local renewable energy facility. Partner up with a church or synagogue to help them go green, connect with a local environmental group or Girl Scouts chapter, or organize a Green Expo for other local businesses.

Join our partners at the 10:10 campaign by committing to reduce your emissions 10 percent in 2010 (just about everyone in the U.K. from Microsoft to the government is already on board). Invite a local politician to come to your event (I hear there might be an election coming up this November in the U.S) and ask them to pledge to support clean energy and climate action.
350 Sphere
Whatever you do, make sure to take some good pictures. That will help you and us reach out the media and spread this message far and wide. If things go according to plan, 10/10/10 is likely to get a good deal of press coverage -- our last day of action was the top story on Google News for the weekend and made the front pages of the New York Times, Guardian, CNN and more -- and we want to share our 15 minutes of fame with as many allies as possible.

By organizing a work party for October 10, you'll not only be doing right by the planet, but reaching an engaged audience of people around the world who are looking to support businesses who are building the type of sustainable future we need.

Can't do October 10? You can still take part in "get-to-work" efforts by sponsoring a prize for the Great Power Race, our clean energy competition between students in China, India and the US (over 600 campuses are already signed up) or by joining the 10:10 Campaign.

If a young man in Malawi can build a wind turbine from recycled materials after seeing a photograph in an old text book, surely businesses in the United States can also get to work on clean energy solutions. We look forward to seeing your events on 10/10/10 -- let's get to work!

10 Ways for Businesses to Get Involved in 10/10/10:

 

  1. Organize a park or beach clean up with your employees.
  2. Install a new set of solar panels on your company.
  3. Retrofit a local school or government building to be more energy efficient.
  4. Host a Green Business fair for sustainable companies in the area.
  5. Partner up with local non-profits to organize a clean energy rally.
  6. Host a business round-table with your political candidates.
  7. Plan a Race for Clean Energy footrace fundraiser and donate the money to a local environmental campaign.
  8. Organize a field trip for your employees to a renewable energy project near you.
  9. Sponsor an advertisement for a local 10/10 event in your city to help turn out a crowd.
  10. Commit to cutting your emissions 10 percent in 2010 with the 10:10 Campaign!

Jamie Henn is the communications and East Asia director for the international climate campaign 350.org.

Images courtesy of 350.org.