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Notes from a Small Planet: Six Degrees, Six Days

Mimi Bluestone
September 15, 2014
by Mimi Bluestone 1310SIX DEGREES CENTIGRADE. That’s how much scientists expect global temperatures to rise if human beings keep burning fossil fuels at current and projected rates. Six degrees is four degrees more than the temperature at which nearly all of the world’s governments have agreed we can survive as a species. Even a two-degree increase in planetary temperature comes with a catastrophic price tag. Six days. That’s how long until the People’s Climate March, the biggest climate demonstration in history, will gather in New York City. One thousand and growing: that’s the number of organizations that are organizing for the march. Disruption is the name of an unusual film that charts both the chaos unleashed by climate change and the movement that is massing to fight the biggest threat humans have ever faced. If you want a crash course in both the problem and the movement, you can watch the film at Filmmakers Kelly Nykes and Jared Scott made Disruption with the explicit goal of inspiring support for the People’s Climate March. The film features eloquent experts and activists: the World Wildlife Fund’s Keya Chatterjee; Bill McKibben of; scientist James Hansen, formerly of NASA; civil rights and environmental activist Van Jones are among them. All of us on planet Earth are at risk. But the film makes the critical point that those who have benefited the least will be punished the most as our planet’s climate systems devolve. The filmmakers illustrate this point with shocking footage of Typhoon Hainan and the devastation it left behind in the Philippines. One of the film’s most moving moments shows a Philippine official weeping at an international meeting as he argues that failing to deal with climate change means accepting such devastation as normal. We who live in more developed countries, where we have consumed so much of the world’s resources, probably won’t feel the effects to this extent. But we do bear more of the responsibility for the wreckage — and so we have an extra responsibility to be part of the solution. PLEASE MARCH on September 21st. Many Jewish organizations are shouldering their responsibility by joining in. Google “People’s Climate March” and look for “Partners.” Or use this link: Just looking alphabetically, start with “JCC on the Hudson” and “Jewish Climate Action Network.” Maybe you want to march with the Jewish Farm School. Or Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews Against Hydrofracking, or Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. Or maybe you’d rather go with Workmen’s Circle or Camp Kinderland. Or Jewish Currents! They’re all taking part. Our planet’s balance has been disrupted. We need to disrupt the political and economic forces that treat the status quo is acceptable. I hope you’ll watch Disruption. And I hope you’ll be there on September 21. Mimi Bluestone is a teacher and writer who lives in Brooklyn.