World gets to work for biggest day of climate action

People across the world, from Afghanistan to West Virginia, joined in a ‘global work party’ on 10/10/10 to issue a unified demand that politicians stop dragging their feet and get to work on climate solutions.

Leading by example, people installed solar panels, insulated their homes, planted trees, cycled to work, sat down for a low-carbon lunch, and came together to call for political action.

“The turnout today, at what is almost certainly the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history, shows that people are fed up with the inaction of their leaders and ready to take matters into their own hands,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org – the campaign group coordinating the day.

Hundreds of other climate organisations co-operated to make the day happen. 10:10 – a movement of individuals, businesses, schools and groups cutting their carbon by 10% in a year – initiated thousands of events, from the large and iconic to small practical actions, calling it a ‘global day of doing.’

“Working in the office in London and watching photos streaming in from across the globe has been really humbling,” said 10:10’s global campaign director Lizzie Gillett. “It is amazing to see how many people, businesses and organisations have been getting on with practical solutions towards a low-carbon future.”

In the days surrounding the work party, US President Barack Obama, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives and Illinois governor Pat Quinn all committed to install solar panels on their official residences. Mexico City, Amsterdam and Paris committed to cut their emissions 10% over the next year. Dozens of politicians joined rallies, while a diverse array of political voices endorsed the global work party.

“It is time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work building the clean energy future that will generate economic opportunity and provide a better, safer and healthier world for our children,” announced UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

Jon Carson, chief of staff for the US government’s Council on Environmental Quality, told 350.org: “People respond to an effort that is getting something done. Tangible change in people’s back yards is what brings more people to the fold.”

The global work party came together online through websites, social networks, and a largely volunteer team around the world. After the events, people uploaded thousands of pictures to the coordinating groups’ websites.

Bill McKibben said the global nature of the work parties made them particularly heartening: “The size and spread of today’s events surprised even those of us organising them. They demonstrate a continuing and growing hunger for real action on the most desperate problem the planet faces.”

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