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Dear Lutheran Friends –

Invitation from the World Council of Churches:

Let the bells ring, the conch shells, drums and gongs sound 350 times for climate justice!

Since immemorial times in cultures across the world musical instruments like bells and drums have been used to warn people of imminent danger – but also to call people to religious service, marking important moments in worship and seeking to connect to God.

Sunday 13 December is at the height of the talks at United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen.  The World Council of Churches is inviting Christians around the world to join in ringing bells or sounding shells, drums, gongs or horns 350 times.  “We envisage a chain of chimes and prayers stretching in a time-line from the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific – where the day first begins and where the effects of climate change are already felt today – to northern Europe and across the globe.”

Why 350 times?

350 refers to 350 parts per million: This is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere according to many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments. For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 ppm of CO2, but now the concentration stands at 390 ppm.  Unless we are able to rapidly reduce CO2 levels again, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.

Learn more about the scientific background  and sign the "Interfaith Call for 350" !

How can your church or group join in?

By joining hands with Christians around the world we can have a greater impact in order to stop the destruction of God's creation and of human livelihoods. If your group or parish wants to join [in witnessing on Dec. 13]:

  • please let us know by sending an email to the WCC climate change desk;
  • spread the message: you can use the WCC climate change info brochure (printed copies can be requested from the WCC climate change desk); you can also tape a video message (take inspiration from the filming guidelines created by CIDSE)
  • download the campaign logo to create your own posters etc. for the event:

This logo has been contributed by the National Council of Churches in Denmark. It may be used freely by churches, parishes and related groups wishing to take part in the campaign. In no case is the logo allowed to be used for non-related events or for any commercial purposes.

For more information, see the WCC web site:  www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/countdown-to-climate-justice/bellringing.html

Also:  Dec. 11 and 12 Candlelight Vigils around the world

LETTER from 350.org founder, environmental author & Methodist, Bill McKibben:

Dear Friends,

…we're hoping some of you will start or join a candlelight vigil at a strategic or iconic location in your community on Dec. 11th or 12th.

The weekend for these vigils falls smack in the middle of the two-week Copenhagen talks…We need to send a signal to say that speeches and prizes are good, but action is what's really required--enough action to head us back towards 350 parts per million.

Obama will bring an emissions target to the table in Copenhagen, a bittersweet development in this political drama.  Sweet because having any sort of commitment from the U.S. increases the chances of global collaboration on a climate deal, bitter because US emissions target represents a paltry 3% reductions below 1990 levels--far from the ambitious cuts scientists say are necessary to get back to 350.

The United States now holds a big key to unlock this process, and we need Obama and the U.S. Congress to turn that key--which is why many of the candlelight vigils will take place at U.S. senate offices, and at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

The timing here is crucial: the vigils are part of a huge mobilization on
the weekend of December 12th, mid-way through the negotiations.  The climate talks will build to a head a few days later, as our allies and champions--people like President Nasheed of the Maldives--struggle to get a document that represents "a survival pact, not a suicide pact."  They have said repeatedly that their survival depends on getting back to 350, and it will help them immensely if delegates from other nations know that back home people are keeping up the pressure and demanding a real deal.  I'll be in Copenhagen on the weekend of December 12th to help organize a vigil with the 350.org team--and my hope is that you can join this effort by organizing a vigil locally.

Click this link to start a local vigil: www.350.org/vigil

Or this link to search for one near you: www.350.org/map

…Light candles, bring signs, and display any 350 action photos you might have--and consider spelling out a big illuminated 350 somehow.  Send a message for your local media to see: after all, they'll be interested in a local angle on the big international story. This is a symbolic act, but when it comes to making political change, symbolism counts.

Here's the deal: the huge day of action on October 24 was a tremendous start, and it's hard to believe that it was only a month ago that you created what's being called "the most widespread day of political action in history." It took the most important number on earth and made it one of the most well-known.

Copenhagen continues that process--with the whole world paying attention, we need to remind our leaders that we don't need rhetoric, we need change. Fast.


Bill McKibben, 350.org

P.S. We need to build the movement now more than ever--can you spread the links to the candlelight vigils to at least 35 friends via e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook.  Click the links above to share the movement in 30 seconds with two clicks.

350.org is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is an independent and not-for-profit project.

What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.