350 Colorado formed as an independent state affiliate of 350.org, a global organization building a movement to solve the climate crisis. Although we had been organizing events and growing since 2010, in 2013 we decided to organize as a nonprofit organization at the suggestion of 350.org in order to better support local 350 teams around the state financially and logistically and to more effectively address how Colorado contributes to and can help solve the climate crisis.
By June of 2013, Executive Director Micah Parkin had started 350 Colorado with a Board of Directors from teams around the state. In September of 2014, 350 Colorado received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS.
The mission of 350 Colorado (350CO) is to work locally to help build the global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and transition to a sustainable future. 350 Colorado has established itself as Colorado’s largest grassroots network focused on taking action to stop climate change.
What we are working to accomplish:
Science and social justice demand that we radically change the way our society contemplates, develops, and uses energy if we are to avert catastrophic global climate change. It’s clear that life as we know it is in peril due to climate change and that future generations and those least responsible for causing climate change will bear the brunt of the impacts. We believe that organized grassroots people power is the only way we can expect to counter the influence of the fossil fuel industry in our society. 350 Colorado is dedicated to achieving three primary organizational goals: Movement Building, Opposing Extreme Energy, and Promoting Local Solutions. Of these three, grassroots Movement Building is the most critical. It is the backbone of achieving success in all our other campaigns.
As mentioned previously, 350CO officially formed as a nonprofit organization just over a year ago. Since that time, we have developed internal systems for success (such as our client relationship management system, board structure, organizational documents, website, social media, fundraising campaigns and more) while we continued to organize important actions credited with impacting decisions around the KXL pipeline, local fracking bans and moratoria, and supporting low-carbon solutions like the transitioning to a municipally-owned local power utility and local food systems.
Colorado has a lot of potential to be a leader in the global fight to stop climate change. The state is frequently in the spotlight politically as a “purple” state. We have excellent renewable energy potential yet to be tapped and vast fossil fuel reserves, the majority of which must stay in the ground. We are working in communities at the epicenter of the fracking debate in the nation and also communities leading the effort to reduce emissions and build resiliency by localizing food and energy, i.e. by creating a renewable energy-powered municipal utility in Boulder. There is enormous potential for our communities to learn from, support, and cross-pollinate with each other.
Over 70% of Coloradans believe that global warming is happening and say it is important to them, according to the 2013 report “Climate Change in the Coloradan Mind”. 350CO’s Movement Building campaign has the potential to empower local 350 teams and leaders with the skills and tools needed to connect with this powerhouse of people and build the grassroots movement needed to create real change and transition to a sustainable future. Movement Building – Local Teams and Leadership Development – long-term goal: build a movement powerful enough to drive the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy future. We use the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing to ground our work.
TOGETHER, WE CAN AND WILL CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE!
***350 Colorado Accomplishments***
- Approximately 450 people attended solidarity People’s Climate March events in Boulder and Denver, while more than 310,000 marched in NYC on Sept. 22nd, 2014.
- 350 Central Colorado organized a Forum on Climate, Energy, and Building a Resilient Community in Salida, Oct. 2014.
- 350CO helped coordinate over 50 Coloradans who travelled to NYC People’s Climate March and raised funds to send 6 youth leaders. Here’s a blog post from one Fossil Free student leader.
- 350CO organized a Whistle Stop Rally at Union Station in Denver to Celebrate Coloradans and others riding the People’s Climate Train to the People’s Climate March in NYC
- 350CO worked with The Great March for Climate Action to organize over 300 marchers participating in a rally at the State Capitol, march through downtown Denver, a discussion forum, film screening and fundraiser when the marchers travelled through Colorado.
- In one week, 350 Central Colorado marched in Salida and again in Colorado Springs with The Great March for Climate Action
- 350 Colorado Executive Director Micah Parkin is Saturday evening keynote speaker at 2014 Bioneers Conference, and 350CO will facilitate a grassroots workshop mid-day.
- 350CO Executive Director Micah Parkin received a 2014 “Fearless Women Leading Green Award” from FearLess Revolution’s 2nd Annual Women Leading Green event .
- 350 Aspen and 350CO organized a “Snowless Ski Race” in Aspen for “Climate Impacts Day”, one of many events aimed to educate people about climate change impacts on CO.
- 350CO was credited with inspiring Sen. Mark Udall’s decision to oppose the KXL pipeline vote to usurp Pres. Obama’s authority on the matter.
- 350CO has organized dozens of events, some with over 1,000 participants, urging Pres. Obama and Congress to reject the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, plus petitions signed by over 50K.
- Video of Forward on Climate March in Denver (credit 23rd Studios) and blog post and media list
- 350CO supports student leaders organizing Fossil Free (fossil fuel divestment) campaigns at universities and colleges across Colorado. Statement from a student leader at Whistle Stop Rally.
- 350 Denver organized two “No KXL Pipeline” rallies outside events when Pres. Obama came to Denver, urging him to reject the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.
- 350CO organized a “Good Governors Don’t Frack Their People” event in Aspen outside the Democratic Governor’s Assn. meeting. Video.
- 350CO works with the Protect Our Colorado Coalition to stop fracking in our communities. We are working toward a statewide ballot initiative to give local control for communities to pass bans or
- 350CO encouraged members to speak at EPA Hearing on the Clean Power Plan (350CO statement here).
- 350CO statement to legislature regarding dual mandate of the CO Oil & Gas Commission.
- 350CO helped organize the Boulder “Do the Math Tour” stop for Bill McKibben, launching the fossil fuel divestment campaigns at institutions and universities across CO and the nation.
- 350CO pressed Congress to end fossil fuel subsidies
- 350CO has participated in several events calling on BLM to stop auctioning off coal at rock bottom prices, which undercuts the transition to a renewable energy future.
- 350 Boulder County is part of Making Local Food Work – to promote locally-grown food, which benefits our bodies, our local economy, and our climate and builds local resiliency.
- 350 Boulder County spearheads the Boulder Edible Landscapes Working Group and co-created and organized Community Fruit Rescue – neighborhood fruit tree harvests of over 10,000 pounds of fruit that would otherwise be wasted, redirecting over 6,000 pounds to local charities. Video/article, Photos, and website: org.
- 350 Boulder is part of the RenewablesYES! and Empower Our Future coalitions promoting creation of a renewable energy-based municipal electric utility in Boulder, CO, which is seen as a innovative model for cities around the nation ready to move off fossil fuel-based electricity, decrease their emissions and support local economic development.
- 350 local teams and members across Colorado are sharing local solution stories at the individual, household, neighborhood, city and beyond levels to inspire and educate others.
The number 350 means climate safety: to preserve a livable planet, scientists tell us that 350 parts per million (ppm) is the safe upper limit of CO2 in the atmosphere. Currently we are at 400ppm and rising 2-3ppm every year.
We believe that a global grassroots movement can lead the way and hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice. That movement is rising from the bottom up all over the world, and is uniting to create the solutions that will ensure a better future for all.
With over 4,000 languages spoken around the world, words don’t always get the point across. This wordless animation explains 350.org in 90 seconds:
350.org was founded by a group of university friends in the U.S. along with author Bill McKibben, who wrote one of the first books on global warming for the general public.
When we started organizing in 2008, we saw climate change as the most important issue facing humanity — but climate action was mired in politics and all but stalled. We didn’t know how to fix things, but we knew that one missing ingredient was a climate movement that reflected the scale of the crisis.
So we started organizing coordinated days of action that linked activists and organizations around the world, including the International Day of Climate Action in 2009, the Global Work Party in 2010, Moving Planet in 2011, and Climate Impacts Day in 2012. We held the “world’s biggest art installation” and “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.” We figured that if we were going to be a movement, then we had to start acting like one. Click here to watch videos of these global mobilisations.
Today, 350.org works in almost every country in the world on campaigns like fighting coal power plants in India, stopping the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S, and divesting public institutions everywhere from fossil fuels. All of our work leverages people power to dismantle the influence and infrastructure of the fossil fuel industry, and to develop people-centric solutions to the climate crisis.