Ed’s note: Saturday the 24th of October is an international day of climate action.  Contributor Jacqui Stephenson takes a look at some of the cool things you can do right here in Cape Town to support this great initiative.

There’s so much happening in preparation for the United Nation’s climate change conference underway in Copenhagen in December (COP15) and frankly, I’m finding it all quite inspirational! The great thing about this preparation is that we can all get involved. In fact, the whole point is for us, the powerful public, to put pressure on our leaders in order to catalyse change, for the sake of our planet.

One of the ways that we individuals can get involved is through the international campaign 350.org. This campaign takes its name from what is largely considered the upper ‘safe’ limit of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere – 350 parts per million. Currently, the atmospheric CO2 concentration is nearing 390 parts per million, which is somewhat frightening.


350.org aims to send a hard-hitting message to those attending COP15 by organising a global day of action on 24 October 2009 (i.e. next week Saturday).

350picThe campaign encourages anyone and everyone to either organise an event or participate in one that will draw attention to the problem we’re all facing. The objective is to come up with a creative way of displaying the number 350 and then taking photographs of your efforts and forward these onto the campaign. All of these photographs will be streamed live to the UN and presented at the Copenhagen talks.

At the time of writing this, there are 2252 actions organised in 152 countries registered on 350.org. You can find out details about actions happening in your area by visiting the website.

And, the Cape Town public has really come to the party by organising the following events (to name a few):

350 Ice Sculpture

350himalayasThis action will see the number 350 marked out in giant ice blocks on Muizenberg Beach. By doing so, the organisers hope to symbolise the impact of global warming on the environment. Time-lapse photographs will be taken of the melting ice sculpture with those involved surrounding it. These photographs will then be spliced into an “ice melting movie”, which will be sent through to 350.org and hopefully displayed at the climate change conference.

For those of you who are interested in attending, you are encouraged to arrive at the beach at 9am armed with large ice blocks (i.e. ones you have made at home using those large 5L ice-cream containers), posters, banners or messages of any kind that you would like to see in the movie (350.org has some great suggestions) and, of course, sunblock.

For more information you can have a look at this event’s facebook group.

Climate Action Festival

The only details I was able to find out about this action is its title (see above) and that it will be held at Blaauwberg Beach. For more information you can contact the head of the event, Werner, via 350.org.

350-24-24 Challenge

350_solarpanelsIn order to promote birding, bird conservation and awareness of the climate a challenge has been proposed to bird photographers and other interested parties to photograph 350 species of birds within 24 hours on the 24th of October. Easier said than done, I say! The images will be posted on 350.birdingafrica.com on the 25th of October and each image will contain a weblink to relevant bird/birding information and/or conservation sites. To sign up simply visit the website.

A Red Hot Faith-filled Climate Procession

I won’t lie, the “faith-filled” part of this action puts me off somewhat, but perhaps this is your cup of tea?

The organisers are arranging a parade which will start at 9h30 in front of Parliament and meander down St George’s Drive, up to the Synagogue and into the Company Gardens where the event will culminate in a ‘bring-and-share’ picnic. Those involved will paint themselves red (signifying global warming) and carry posters and other climate change messages.

The “faith-filled” bit comes when the parade will stop intermittently along the route to hear brief messages from faith leaders of different religions.

Human 350 to be filmed on Table Mountain

capWhere better to send a message from Cape Town from? It has to be Table Mountain! The Climate Action Partnership are organising a hike up Table Mountain via Platteklip Gorge. Upon reaching the top, those involved will form a human ‘350’, which will then be filmed from a helicopter.

The plan is to meet at 08h00 at the Lower Cable Car Station on Table Mountain Road and you’ll find the organiser at the far right end of the bus parking lot at the beginning of the path which leads to Platteklip Gorge. You are encouraged to wear yellow, orange or red. For more information email Jessica Thorn on j.thorn@conservation.org.

350 Low Carbon Meals

click to view larger imageGreenChoice is coordinating a drive for 350 low carbon meals to demonstrate how our food choices affect our carbon footprints. Participants are encouraged to host a low carbon dinner party of sorts, take photographs (ideally with the number 350 in the picture) and forward them onto 350.org. Low carbon meals will include, for example, picnics and candle-lit dinners, but don’ forget that you’ll have to consider the food you are serving as well.

Check out the website for more events as new ones are being loaded all the time. Of course, if none of the events organised take your fancy, you are more than welcome to create your own event and register it on 350.org. Ideally, though, it will make more of an impact to have fewer events attended by more people than many events with only a few people involved, don’t ya think?

This blog is a part of Blog Action Day 2009.

Jacqui_cropThis article was written by Jacqui Stephenson.
Jacqui has a B.Sc Honours degree in Zoology from the University of Cape Town and works on scientific and agricultural projects for Tokai-based C4 EcoSolutions. C4 EcoSolutions (Pty) Ltd. provides scientific expertise on large-scale ecological projects, and the management of climate change.

Budding contributor? Please contact pia@mothercityliving.co.za and let’s chat!

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