Thursday, October 15, 2009

Humboldt joins global day of climate action

One of over 3,000 October 24 events in 158 countries

Humboldt Sentinel staff


People from around Southern Humboldt will gather in Richardson Grove at 2 p.m. Oct. 24 for one of the largest days of climate change activism ever.

Participants will join more than 3,000 communities in 158 countries as part of a global day of action, coordinated by, to urge leaders to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions. The Southern Humboldt organizing effort has been spearheaded by Redway resident Aliana Knapp-Prasek, a Student Conservation Association climate activist.

"The earth can heal the wounds of industrialized society, including climate change, if we give them a chance," said Knapp-Prasek. "Decentralized organizing efforts like these can help the community come together to address the global issues, locally."

From capitols to the melting slopes of Mount Everest, even underwater on dying coral reefs, people will hold rallies aimed at focusing attention on the number 350—a reference to 350 parts per million, the most carbon dioxide scientists say can safely be in the atmosphere. The current CO2 concentration is 390 parts per million.

“That’s why glaciers and sea ice are melting, drought is spreading, and flooding is on the increase,” said Bill McKibben, founder of “And it’s why we need a huge worldwide movement to give us the momentum to make real political change. Our leaders have heard from major corporations and big polluters for a long time—today, finally, they heard from citizens and scientists.”

Locally action will take place at Richardson Grove State Park, once a protected stand of ancient redwood trees that is now threatened by a highway widening project.

Proponents of the project claim it is justified by increased truck access through the region.

Southern Humboldt organizers, who say the grove has trees over 1,500 years old, chose it to symbolize the threat of reckless planning and disregard for ecosystems.

"The planned widening of Highway 101 through Richardson Grove, to me, embodies a giant step in the wrong direction, as far as climate change, as well as for the people in our community who hold precious our way of life,” said Talia Rose, owner of Organic Grace in Garberville.

“If we are to have any hope of slowing down the effects that will devastate life on Planet Earth, we need to make some huge changes quick,” continued Rose, . “The tipping point is now--we need to live a little simpler now to ensure our children and grandchildren have a healthy planet to live on."

While a lot of attention has focused on the campaign to Save Richardson Grove State Park, large-scale clear-cutting continues behind the Redwood Curtain. One organization, the Environmental Protection Information Center, has spent 32 years addressing this issue locally.

“We depend on these forests to survive,” said Natalynne Delapp, policy advocate for the EPIC. “Outdated logging practices like clear-cutting continue to dominate the landscape of the Redwood region. We need the forests of our unique bioregion to function at their highest potential for all of the people on the planet, not just the few companies profiting off their destruction."

The global action comes six weeks before nations convene in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to draw up a new climate treaty. Eighty-nine countries have already endorsed the 350 target. It has also been endorsed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Sir Nicholas Stern and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.

Photos from around the world, including ones of the gathering in Southern Humboldt, will be featured on giant video screens in New York's Times Square as part of a countdown. They will be accessible at and will be delivered to the United Nations on Monday, Oct. 26.

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