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No Longer Any Doubt

Climate

Bill McKibben

Imagine one of the largest banners the world has ever seen, staked down on a California glacier with a simple message: ‘I’m Melting!’

Now imagine, at the same moment, activists in Ho Chi Minh City gathering along the Saigon River to mark the ever higher tides that are swamping homes and neighborhoods. Now imagine our friends in Hobart, Tasmania gathering along the beach to mark severe erosion from a recent series of freak storms.

Now, I need you to imagine a global movement, working together on one day to connect these dots—each one a small bit of proof—and show how climate change is a clear and present danger. On May 5, we’ll be holding a day of global witness that does just that. All around the planet, at spots where climate change is already cutting deep, people will be gathering to express their anger, and their hope that the world will find a better way. At every event, people will take a photo of a gigantic dot on a sign or banner—each dot representing a local climate impact—and we’ll connect up all the dots to issue a global clarion call for climate action.

Where I live in Vermont we’ll make a human bridge to mark the real ones swept away in last fall’s record rains; in Faridabad, India, where they have the opposite problem, they’ll gather on the banks of the drying Yamuna River. From one end of the earth to the other, we’ll rally to point out that there is no longer any doubt that burning coal and gas and oil is changing our planet. (If you want to read 593 pages of backup, please refer to the huge UN report issued on climate change and weather extremes that was released this week.)

We’re not doing this as a substitute for political action—we’re in the middle of fights over everything from the Keystone XL pipeline to the Kosovo coal plant, and working hard to strip subsidies and special privileges from the fossil fuel industry around the world. But success in these fights will only come when people feel the urgency of climate change. Too often storms or droughts are seen as one-time, isolated events, even though scientist tell us they fit a pattern. We need to make that pattern visible—to connect the dots.

We need people everywhere to lead local events on the May 5—people all over the world who can change the conversation around climate change. If your community is seeing the disastrous impacts of climate change already, we will use this day to show that there is a global movement standing beside you. If you have been lucky enough to avoid the worst impacts thus far, we need you too—you’ll be sounding the alarm for your community, educating your friends and neighbors and standing with our friends around the world. Click here to register an event.

From early morning on May 5, when the sun first rises in the South Pacific and our colleagues in the Marshall Islands do a daybreak dive on their damaged coral reef, we’ll be following the day around the globe, providing an endless stream of pictures and images. People around the world will upload a group photo from their local event that captures their big "climate dot.” We'll link up those images to make a gorgeous global photo mosaic that connects all the dots from places around the world.

We want you to watch—but we want you to be a part of it at some point along the day. Sign up here to register an event in your community. We’ll help you figure out what makes sense, and how to pull together the logistics, but we need your spirit of solidarity to get it going.

P.S. Not every place is getting pounded by climate change—but we’re also going to try and connect some of the dots of solutions emerging around the world. So if you’ve got a hopeful energy project near you, or a beautiful community garden coming into May bloom in the northern hemisphere, get your event on the map for May 5!

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