Bridge to a Cool Planet puts on a multitude of events

“The best outcome from the event was the building of connections between communities,” says Kevin Washburn, an organizer of the Bridge to a Cool Planet group. The group held a massive parade in Vancouver on October 24, as part of a global day of action on climate change, directed at Canada's leaders.

As the parade snaked past GM place, stretching from the bottom of Cambie Bridge to the end of Pacific Boulevard, these connections were on full display. Whole families, groups of friends, and the old and young of every nationality happily joined together in a festive mood that was reinforced by stilt-wearing activists and cyclists blaring upbeat music out of boomboxes. 

After arriving at Science World, the potpourri of Vancouverites was treated to additional awareness events that added to the already large numbers from the parade. A “Hot Salsa, Cool Planet” dance show was thrown, as well as an eco-fair on green business, a dance stage with SHAH DJ, and even several bands, including well-known locals Mojave.

The Bridge to a Cool Planet is an independent organization that was asked to join with 350, a movement that put on over 5200 similar events worldwide on October 24.

350 is the brainchild of author Bill McKibben and the movement takes its name from what research has concluded is the safe amount of C02 in our atmosphere, 350 parts-per-million – a level we have already surpassed.  The goal of 350 is to force world leaders to take action this December when a new world treaty on climate change will be passed in Copenhagen. 

There has been massive Canadian support for this initiative, in terms of participation in the 350 movement. However, it is contrasted by what the government has done to reduce carbon emissions. Since the Kyoto accord was signed in 1997, Canada has done the least to reduce emissions out of all the G8 nations, something Washburn attributes to strategic vote counting by Canadian politicians.

“The Conservatives are beholden to their base in energy rich Alberta, and don't want to make the tough choices that need making to get us on the path to a low carbon economy. Similarly, the Liberals want to build a national base and so don't want to alienate Alberta or Saskatchewan either, for fear of the NDP presumably,” said Washburn.

Unlike current Candian developments, powerful global leaders such as Barack Obama are beginning to recognize the profits and positives that new, renewable sources of energy can yield.

At a recent speech at MIT, Obama compared this search for new methods of energy production to a race, and believes that “the nation that wins this competition will be the nation that leads the global economy.”

According to 350’s website, many powerful leaders are still unreceptive to the urgency of global warming, and time is running out as Copenhagen looms closer and closer. The site’s Science section also notes that the treaty currently being proposed would be ineffective in slowing down global warming, and fails to meet the 350 parts-per-million standard set by researchers.

This year's UN Copenhagen climate change conference will be take place between December 8 and 17.

For more information on the 350 movement, visit

//Mac Fairbairn

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