350 – What Do the Numbers Really Mean?

Submitted by Genevieve Bleidner '13 on October 27, 2009

news_cas_350_09On Wednesday, October 21, Fairfield University’s campus sidewalks were cryptically scrawled upon with messages such as “350.org” and “Save Our Planet!” The messages were a way to reach out to the community to raise awareness about global climate change, and to get students involved in the meeting held that night at 9:00 in Barone.

During the day, an aerial photograph was taken of the roof of the Dolan School of Business, on which “350” was written using old sheets as a part of Fairfield’s involvement in the organization. The meeting was brief, but very informative.

Student representatives from both the on-campus environmental awareness groups Student Environmental Association and Green Campus Initiative were able to talk about the issues of global climate change and the mission behind 350, which is an international non-profit organization with over 150 countries participating. There was a slideshow of facts and figures, as well as an open discussion about climate change and pollution.

The idea behind the organization is to get global leaders, especially President Barack Obama, involved in effectively lowering the carbon emissions and pollution we set forth every day. The meaning behind the group name is that the acceptable and safe parts per million of carbon in the air should be 350; the current measured levels are somewhere around 387, which is deemed unacceptable for sustainable living.

Following the presentation, there was a short half hour film viewing on pollution from the makers of King Corn, called Big River. The film tracked the runoff pollution from a plot of land used to grow corn in Iowa all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, and how the pesticides and herbicides ran through the land and into the sea, ultimately killing off sea life and causing illness and cancers as they run their course. The film was entertaining, and the audience really seemed to enjoy the presentation as a whole while learning more about what exactly we are doing to our environment, directly or indirectly.

Learn more about 350 at Fairfield here. For more information on 350 and Fairfield’s own chapter, visit 350.org and Students 411.

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