Campus News

Bowdoin's 350 Day a Success Despite Local Climate

Story posted October 26, 2009

Rain drove events inside to Morrell Lounge, Smith Union, but there was a spirited turnout for "350," Bowdoin's part in an international day of climate action, held Saturday, October 24, 2009, and spearheaded by the Evergreens with additional support from Green Global Initiatives, Bowdoin College Democrats and Sustainable Bowdoin.

The number 350 references the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide — measured in parts per million (ppm) in the earth's atmosphere.

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Gov. John Baldacci addresses the crowd in Morrell Lounge, Smith Union.

Scientists say we're currently at 390 ppm and that returning to 350 ppm as soon as possible is the way to avoid runaway climate change.

Preliminary Carbon Neutrality Plan
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The President's Climate Commitment Advisory Committee has announced the publication of its draft report, "A Blueprint for Carbon Neutrality in 2020."

Read the report and offer feedback.


Maine Governor John Baldacci, and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Mike Michaud (D-Maine) spoke about the importance of such topics as the importance of wind power.

Maine Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx '06 (D-Brunswick), who also addressed the crowd, helped organize another aspect of the event.

Cornell du Houx is active with Operation FREE, a coalition of veterans organizations that have assembled to tackle the issue of climate change from a national security perspective.

Cornell du Houx told the Maine Sunday Telegram that America's dependence on foreign oil was driven home to him one day in 2006 in Iraq, when scores of Iraqis lined up to fuel their cars despite the threat posed by insurgents in that country. Read the article.

Read more about Cornell du Houx's involvement with Operation Free, including his invitation to speak at the White House.

Operation FREE, whose acronym stands for Freedom from fossil fuel dependence; Right to affordable, clean energy; Economic growth; Environmental security and renewal; says climate change legislation is critical to allowing the U.S. to reduce its carbon consumption and emissions.

Bowdoin in The Huffington Post

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Bowdoin's 350 event was one of more than 2000 such events in 149 countries.

Ted Wells '98, a fourth grade teacher in Brookline, Mass., attended the Boston Underwater 350 Festival with his wife and one-year-old son and wrote about the experience for The Huffington Post.

Before heading over, I noticed the little guy was wearing his "Bowdoin Polar Bears" t-shirt, so I put a strip of duct tape over "Bowdoin" and Sharpied in "Save the" instead. Voila! He was ready for his first climate rally.

Read Wells' article, "350: Polar Bears, Harbor Seals and a Boy."

A photo was taken of participants forming a human banner of the number 350. Organizers said the image would be sent to the 350 Web site, so it can then be shared with United Nations participants at the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations in December.

Participants also had the opportunity to write postcards to Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins asking for action on climate change.

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