The Most Important Number in the World
Three hundred and fifty. 350. That’s the most important number in the world. Learn it and remember it, because it represents the atmospheric line in the sand that we cross at our own peril. In order to live sustainably, we need to make sure the air we breathe stays below 350 parts per million (ppm) concentration of carbon dioxide.
350 is also the name of a new group spearheaded by our writer and activist friend Bill McKibben that intends to help us get to the safe side of that number. We support this group and think you should, too.
We know that the climate crisis is pretty hard to get your head around. It involves a lot Byzantine atmospheric science that can be difficult to follow, and we can’t see it the same way we can see polluted water or mountains of solid waste. But it is definitely affecting us, causing weather extremes, slowly rising sea levels, and arctic melting, to name a few disasters-in-the-making.
But 350. Now there’s a number we can understand, a way to make this big amorphous thing feel real and tangible and part of our lives. Currently, atmospheric CO2 levels are about 387 ppm. We’ve already crossed the line, and 350.org is going to work to pull us back from this brink. They’ve got some good ideas, some great energy and some excellent info. But mostly what they’ve got is the meme we’ve been looking for. 350. That single bite-sized piece of information that instantly crystallizes an amazingly complex idea for effortless consumption and motivated action. It’s really quite an extraordinary thing. 350. Take it. Spread it. Share it.
And check out 350 the group. It is an effort we all need to make together.