From Bangkok to Power Shift

Cross-posted from 350.org

It’s the final day of the UN Climate Talks in Bangkok and the buzz here isn’t about the progress being made on a global treaty (not much), but about Power Shift.

Well, ok, to be honest, most delegates probably don’t know about the conference coming up in DC next weekend, but if all goes well, they will soon. After all, when it comes to saving the planet, the discussions and work that goes on in DC at Power Shift will be just as essential as the debates raging here at the UN.

Amongst civil society representatives, however, there is a building level of excitement about Power Shift and the growing climate movement.

Over the past three years, we have seen the explosion of the global climate movement. At Power Shift 2009, the organization I work with, 350.org, was little more than a small group of former students from Middlebury College and writer Bill McKibben. We spent the conference signing up students to take part in a global day of action on October 24 and Bill took the stage with a dancing 3, 5, and 0 to spread the most important number on earth: 350, as in 350 ppm, the safe level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that we’re already past.

Fast forward to October 24, when there were over 5,200 events in 182 countries calling for action to get to 350 ppm. CNN called it, “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.” Since then, our movement has only grown. Last October, the Global Work Party brought together over 7,000 community events. 350.org now counts more than 500,000 supporters in 188 countries as part of our movement and its growing by the day. (Just yesterday, we merged with 1Sky in the US to build our movement even larger).

Power Shift will mark another turning point.

It’s a chance for us to put people at the center of our movement. We understand that this isn’t just about solar power and wind power anymore, it’s about people power.

Internationally, it couldn’t be a more important time to jumpstart our global movement for climate action. This December, the UN Climate Talks move to Durban, South Africa, home to a rich history of peoples struggles. Indeed, the struggle against apartheid, that global movement led by amazing South Africans such as Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu, can serve as an inspiration for us all. A climate meeting in Africa will not only show the devastating impacts of climate change on the world’s poor, but also the inspiring solutions that people can create together.

From the Middle East to the Midwest, people around the world are showing that the power of the people can overcome the people in power. For a global movement, Power Shift couldn’t come at a better time.

1 Response to “From Bangkok to Power Shift”


  1. 1 bangkok computer Apr 11th, 2011 at 11:46 am

    All in all, the UN talks here in Thailand is a successful one. I’m just glad that Thailand is doing what it can with regards to climate change. Bangkok has had experiences with climate change for the past two months. Imagine Bangkok having cold weather instead of the hot, humid summer.

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About Jamie


Jamie is the co-coordinator of 350.org, an international global warming campaign. A recent college graduate, he lives in San Francisco, CA. In 2007, he co-organized Step It Up, a campaign that pulled together over 2,000 climate rallies across the United States to push for strong climate action at the federal level. He's also an early member of the youth climate movement, leading one of Energy Action's first campaigns in 2005: Road to Detroit, a nationwide veggie-oil bus tour to promote sustainable transportation. He's traveled to Montreal and Bali to lobby the UN with youth, but he's a strong believer that change happens in the streets not in meetings. Jamie received the Morris K. Udall award in 2007 and has been recognized by the mighty state of Vermont for his work on climate change. You can also find him blogging at Campus Progress' "Pushback," Changents.com, and 350.org.

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