Will Social Media Help in Saving the Planet?

Allow me to rephrase the question to be more accurate: Will social media help in saving life on earth? The planet is not in danger, but we are. We like to believe that we are saving the planet while in reality we are working on saving ourselves. The planet existed long before us and will be there long after we perish! We are in real danger. Contrary to common belief, the threat of climate change is not a future threat, it is a current one. A lot of people are dying now and many others are leaving their homes and lands.

Activism to pressure governments…

Climate Action Oct.24 2009

Climate Action Oct.24 2009

Bill McKibben (@billmckibben), the American environmentalist and author, appalled by his country’s climate policy,  realized the importance of people’s awareness in the matter of climate change in order to pressure their governments to take responsible actions.  Twenty years ago, he published his book ‘The Book of Nature‘ (in 24 languages) which was the first book to address climate change to non-scientific audience. Two years ago – in 2007 -  he established the environmental group 350.org where they ran a campaign called “Step It Up” that organized over 2,000 rallies in different places in all the 50 states of America. The rallies caught the attention of many political leaders and convinced many of them – including Senator Barack Obama – to adopt their common call for action: cutting carbon 80% by 2050.

Bill says “Climate change is the most important story in the world, no other story would matter 2,000 or 10,000 years from now“.

Why 350?

350 is the number that leading scientists claim is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide. Currently we have exceeded those levels and reached 390 so far, which puts us at a huge risk. We need to reduce carbon emissions very fast. This year – in December -  we have out best shot in Copenhagen where the United Nations are working on a global climate change treaty. What is 350.org  – along with many partners -  aiming to achieve now? Having all of us standing together as a planet and demand a fair climate treaty from world leaders.

Tough Negotiations!

There is a huge bill of carbon reduction that needs to be divided between people around the world. Every country will have its own share, but the shares would vary from one country to another depending on different factors that take into consideration the historical emission level of each country along with current emission level and state of economy. Of course, rich industrial countries will not only have to take drastic measures in cutting their current emission level but also helping developing countries with money and technology to switch into renewable energy sources without affecting their small fragile economies.

It was only a month ago when the United States and China, the two largest polluters, reached an agreement to work together on a global solution after a long period of disagreement, in which each one took the other as an excuse for not acting.

There are also countries like Saudi Arabia (leading the OPEC and the Arabic countries) whose economies are built on their oil exports and thus are taking a discouraging stand against needed climate change actions. Maybe diplomacy is the key to fighting climate change, but the conflict of interests is huge, and thus people around the world need to be mobilized in order to add the needed pressure on the resisting countries.

Global Day of Climate Action – 24 October:

350.org is calling out for a global climate action day on the 24th of October. People in more than 1000 communities around the globe have already announced their action plans — school children in Bangledesh will be planting 350 trees, scientists on the statues on Easter Island will be hanging banners labeled 350, 350 scuba divers will dive underwater at the Great Barrier Reef, and a thousand more creative actions like these.  At each event, people will gather for a big group photo that somehow depicts 350–and upload those photos to the 350.org website.

The objective? To mobilize as many people as possible around the world to take actions and report their experience through social media to trigger the needed buzz and pressure the world leaders to take responsible actions when they meet in Copenhagen. The 350.org website has a section for social networks and online organizing where it offers a Twitter widget, it links to 350 Facebook fan page, 350 Youtube channel and 350 Twitter account.

Our last chance!

The Copenhagen conference may be our last chance to agree on saving the life on this planet. Environmental activates are out all over the world trying to push their leaders to do the right thing. Social media provides us with the needed tools to express, share and promote awareness about this matter. Will it help us get our message through? Will it capture the attention of the world leaders? It is up to us.

I will be waiting for a trending #climatechange topic on 24th October on Twitter. Let us all be part of it.

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    I think social media and Twitter in specific can bring about great changes and move the masses in ways we have never witnessed before. If #climatechange turns out to be a trending topic, I think extreme measures might be taken in order to bring about change.

    Great post!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I wish I could live in a cleaner, less polluted Earth, but do you really believe that people who support groups on Facebook, Twitter and so on would actually take action in real life? Are they anything more than a running counter?

    I think it's a great way to spread the word, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Do you really think that a trending Twitter topic for a few hours or even days would bring real change and convince world gov'ts to invest billions of $$?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Yes I do actually because I believe in Twitter users… Take my followers for example, they are intelligent, educated and well-rounded individuals who are exposed to hundreds of topics throughout the day and who tweet valuable topics, tips and links on a daily basis. So what if the topic was saving the planet? I believe they have the power to make a huge difference!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    #climatechange becoming a trending topic on twitter along with the 350 actions on different parts of the world would trigger news coverage all over the planet and thus giving a clear message to the world leaders. I certainly hope this will happen.

  • http://cssbit.com cssbit

    that's really great, we hope that

  • http://twitter.com/Technogati Technogati.com

    Of course ! The impact of social media is fast growing so it can help.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com M.Bamieh

    Are they really listening to social media at all ? does that really influence them ? what is the bargaining chip that they have to be the impetus for change?
    From where I stand now i don't really see anyone have the power to force china to stop polluting, never mind reducing its carbon emissions because they have nothing to bargain with them about so until then nothing will probably change

  • http://myhugs.blogspot.com/ S K Jain

    Social Media can create awareness which may lead us to the desired objective(s).

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    Actually there has been some steps taken to help China reducing its polluting. One is the agreement between China and the US (The US wouldn't have came around without the pressure of the American citizens). China is developing fast, and it is understandable that they want to put breaks infront of themselves, but that is part of the negotiations where other industrial countries would help China reduce its emissions without affecting their development. I am sure it is going to be tough, but with people's pressure, governments would know that they have to do the right thing. Let us make the web talk, it will generate a buzz and maybe make change.

  • Jim

    Good hashtags for climate include
    #cop15 = related to Copenhagen Climate Talks- Conf of Parties #15 (15th time they are meeting)
    #climate = a little generic
    #350 = support for or relating to 350 parts per million of co2 in the atmosphere

    One drawback of #ClimateChange is that it uses up ~14 characters. for Oct 24th, #350 is shorter

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