There will be a rally for addressing Climate Change at the State House on Saturday, Oct 24. The event will be one of 3,769 actions in 163 countries taking place on that day, according to the website of 350, the environmental group founded by writer Bill McKibben and some of his colleagues. Fittingly, the rally in downtown Columbus is scheduled to begin at 3:50 pm, not to be confused with, but surely to be mentally associated with, 350 ppm (parts per million). That is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere that NASA’s James Hansen and other scientists say the world should be below in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Compare that with the 450 parts per million target of the Waxman-Markey Bill which passed the House at the end of June and the Kerry-Boxer Bill now in the Senate. Many environmentalists such as Deborah Steele, a Columbus-based field organizer for Greenpeace USA, are calling for stronger measures, ones that involve stabilizing atmospheric C02 at 350 parts per million. “The main point of the rally is that the science is clear. We need to take bold action,” Steele said.

The day of action comes as the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for Dec 7-18 in Copenhagen approaches. “We have yet to join the world to work on Climate Change on the national level. But we have a big opportunity in Copenhagen to do so,” Steele said.

She said the rally at the State House is part of the process of getting the attention of federal policy makers. “We need to help Kilroy and Obama take action against Climate Change by supporting effective legislation that does not bail out big polluters. To do so our elected officials should see us at this rally. We will follow up with letters, calls, and visits to their offices, because that is the power people bring to this movement."

Steele encourages people who are concerned about Climate Change to get politically active, so as to not allow well-funded vested interests such as major oil companies to shape public opinion regarding Climate Change. “The idea is to show up to remind Obama that there are lots of people in Central Ohio who want him to be bold on Climate Change. If they (people wondering about whether to show up) need any inspiration, everyone should know that the fossil fuel industry and lobbyist are spending thousands of dollars everyday, maybe every hour, to try to leverage this administration. In fact, big polluters are hoping we don't show up and that we don't participate so they can continue to dictate policies and legislation.”

Regarding the apparent fact that some people are focusing on making lifestyle changes to address Climate Change while avoiding getting involved with politics, Steele said, “We need to persist with local initiatives. For example, I personally buy local food, but the green movement shouldn’t be stuck in the consumer mode. It needs to be also in the political mode. The problem is simply too big to be solved just by changing our individual lifestyles.”

She said the rally at the State House here in Columbus is part of a grassroots movement to address Climate Change that differs significantly from rallies at which employees of polluting industries are there because they are paid or pressured to pass themselves off as concerned citizens who are protesting. “One reporter asked me, ‘well, isn’t Greenpeace an Astroturf group too?’. We’re not because we’re funded by members who vote on the priorities of the organization. Wind or solar companies don’t fund us. But with a group such as Energy Citizens, the funding comes directly from oil companies whose mission is to frighten citizens away from changing how we generate power in our country” A response from Energy Citizen will be added to this post when its received.

Regarding the rally, Steele said , “we are going to have music there and take a group photo on the steps that we will send to Obama and upload to the 350 site as part of a global petition.”

For some ideas about what people who oppose addressing Climate Change may be thinking, refer to the documentary Not Evil, Just Wrong. The website promoting the film states “Global warming alarmists want Americans to believe that humans are killing the planet. But Not Evil Just Wrong, a new documentary by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, proves that the only threats to America (and the rest of the world) are the flawed science and sky-is-falling rhetoric of Al Gore and his allies in environmental extremism.”

Like others people who dismiss concerns about Climate Change, McAleer and McElhinney seem to think it is the only environmental challenge. But what about Peak Oil, or concerns about biodiversity, the spread of deserts, the draw-down of aquifers, or the loss of topsoil ? Are environmentalists wrong about everything? Send comments to