On Saturday, Oct. 24, drop everything and get yourself to the Farmer's Market at noon. It's the International Day of Climate Action, and everyone counts.

More than 3,000 actions in 158 countries -- from Nepal to Belize to Brazil, Egypt and the United States -- are in the works for that day.

350.org is coordinating the events. Founded by author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, it's the first universal grassroots global campaign against climate change.

"The day of global action is intended to pressure politicians to enact policies that will save the worldwide climate from irreparable damage."

Supporters include leading scientists, the governments of 92 countries and a substantial number of environmental, health, development and religious nongovernmental organizations. They all concur that the current atmospheric levels of CO2 -- 390 parts per million (ppm) -- are damaging the planet.

They also agree that bold government action at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December is imperative to bring the atmospheric carbon level quickly down to 350 ppm or lower, the level that can prevent catastrophic global climate change.

The day of global action is intended to pressure politicians to enact policies that will save the worldwide climate from irreparable damage.

Communities throughout the world are planning creative actions with a festive air. For example:

  • The president of the Maldives, an island chain facing inundation from climate change, will hold a cabinet meeting underwater, complete with scuba gear and "350" banners.
  • Afghan youth will create a giant chalk image of "350" on the side of a mountain in the Hindu Kush.
  • Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli activists will set aside their political differences to push for a just, ambitious and binding climate treaty. On their respective shores of the Dead Sea, they'll inscribe large "350s."
  • Images of the demonstrations from around the world, including a rally in Bloomington, will be shown on giant video screens in Times Square in New York as part of a 350 countdown and will be accessible at 350.org as part of an online photostream. Members of 350.org will present the photos to the United Nations on Monday the 26th, internationally recognized as UN Day.

    "Images of the demonstrations from around the world, including a rally in Bloomington, will be shown on giant video screens in Times Square in New York."

    An ad hoc coalition formed in Bloomington to organize action for the 24th. The whole program on climate change is running for 350 hours, including six hours on the 24th.

    The Bloomington events will open with a noon gathering at the Farmers' Market and speeches by Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan and Elizabeth Venstra from the group Bloomington Transportation Options for People. IU students will move among the crowd taking pictures for a photo petition and collecting signatures for a written petition.

    At 12:25 p.m. participants will gather together to have their picture taken with a big "350" for display in Times Square and on the 350.org Web site.

    At 12:30 the Jefferson Street Marching Band will lead the 350 procession to Third Street Park.

    The park will be the venue for five hours of music and speeches and will feature speakers on climate change science and action, Transition Town Bloomington, Indiana's energy policy, energy and architecture, forests and energy, and more. The musicians scheduled to perform are Janas Hoyt, Tom Roznowski, Mary Sloan and Toby Howell, and the bands Busman's Holiday and Atomic Bombay.

    There will be activities for children organized by the Bloomington Project School. Local environmental and antiwar groups will hand out information about climate change from various perspectives. It will be the biggest day of climate action yet.

    Linda Greene can be reached at lgreene@bloomington.in.us.