Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This Saturday, September 24th, Earthlust will be hosting an event called Moving Planet to promote sustainable transportation. The hope is that the College and local community will collectively complete 350 laps around Parrish Hall using “renewable people power”: bikes, skateboards, unicycles, walking, and running. The action is meant to demonstrate to world leaders that people all over the globe want to move beyond fossil fuels and lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million.
“This is a topic that is important,” says KC Cushman ’12, a member of Earthlust. “We’re hoping that students, faculty, and anyone around Swarthmore will come out even just for a little bit to show support.”
Moving Planet is the third annual event hosted by an international team of volunteer organizers who rally together at 350.org. Led by environmentalist author Bill McKibben, the team’s mission is to build a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis, and they organize campaigns and mass public actions to demand that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere be lowered. According to their website, the current level of 392 parts per million is already above the safe upper limit, and world leaders must be called upon to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The September 24th Moving Planet event is an international day of action to demand that leaders enforce this reduction, and over 2,000 individual events are set to occur around the world, including Earthlust’s.
The event will be held from noon to 3:50 this Saturday. Clara Fang, Swarthmore’s new Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, will be on hand to answer questions about the Climate Action Plan (CAP) process. Earthlust is providing snacks and locally grown veggies to those who contribute at least one lap, and the Swarthmore Society of Engineers will be available to examine or repair participants’ bicycles. Students will also be able to borrow bicycles during the event. If the 350 collective laps are completed, participants will have traveled an estimated 72 miles as a team.
“The 350 events are a good opportunity to get involved in a more global aspect of the environmental movement, because there are people in communities worldwide who are participating,” says Cushman. “It shows that this is an issue that people everywhere care a lot about. We need to take action and move forward.”