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Using 350 to beat climate change

TO draw public attention to “350 parts per million (ppm)”, the number scientists claim is the safe upper limit for the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, international grassroots campaign 350.org has been working hard for the past two years to raise awareness.

The current amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stands at 387ppm. This is why the Arctic is melting and we are feeling the impacts of climate change all around world. Scientists say if we don’t return to the safe level of not more than 350ppm, we risk breaching the tipping point for runaway climate change.

350.org chose Saturday, 24 Oct 2009, as the international day of climate action. More than 5,200 rallies and events were held in 181 countries, including in Malaysia, to jolt world leaders about the need to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

Action was taken at iconic spots worldwide such as at the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Mount Everest, and the Sydney Opera House.

In Malaysia, some students “froze” and flash-danced in front of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Others in Penang cycled for 3.5km in support of the campaign, while yet another bunch of students dived into the waters of Perhentian Island in an effort to save the coral reefs.

350.org has described the successfully conducted global youth action as “the most widespread day of environmental action in history”, which the photos demonstrate.


Gan Pei Ling is part of the Malaysian Youth Climate Justice Network (MyCJN). She took part in the Asian Youth Climate Workshop sponsored by 350.org, and helped coordinate the flash dance organised by MyCJN.

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2 Responses to “Using 350 to beat climate change”

  1. siew eng says:

    So proud of the kids, especially those at KLCC. I remember those guards are really uppity about peaceful gatherings there.

  2. megabigBLUR says:

    Even though Malaysia is a small country, we definitely have an interest in and a responsibility to reduce our carbon emissions. Because we still depend a lot on agriculture, and because we have low-lying inland areas vulnerable to floods, and low-lying coastal areas vulnerable to rising sea levels, climate change is going to be a problem for us. We can’t just point fingers at the US and China; pressure them, yes, but we need to clean up our industries, agriculture, and personal transportation also. I was really surprised to find that when you want to buy a new car here, the brochures don’t give any figures on fuel consumption. Yah, petrol is cheap, but what’s coming out of the tail pipe?

    And we need to get away from the ridiculous idea that palm oil is a good biofuel (neither is corn ethanol in the US, by the way) because emissions from its production and from clearing land for new plantations more than cancel out the amount of carbon that the trees draw down from the atmosphere. Not to mention the impact on wildlife and indigenous people. Biofuels are not a “free lunch” — the government needs to improve public transport and individuals need to try to drive less.

    I believe that everything on Earth is linked together — not in some mystical New Age hippie sense but in very real ways whether it be physical, political, or economic. If we don’t take care of deforestation in Borneo, we’re going to have more and worse flash floods in Semenanjung.


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