350 Colorado formed as an independent state affiliate of 350.org, a global organization building a movement to solve the climate crisis. Although we have been organizing events and growing since 2010, in 2013 we decided to organize as a nonprofit organization at the suggestion of friends at 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 the largest Colorado-based grassroots network focused on taking action to stop climate change.
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, Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground, and Promoting Local Solutions. Of these three, grassroots Movement Building is the most critical since it is the backbone of achieving success in all our other campaigns. Colorado has a lot of potential to be a leader in the global fight to stop climate change. We have excellent renewable energy potential yet to be tapped and vast fossil fuel reserves, the vast majority of which must stay in the ground. Our local teams around the state 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. We have worked with partners to organize important actions and campaigns credited with impacting decisions around the KXL pipeline, local fracking bans and moratoria, and supported low-carbon solutions like transitioning to a municipally-owned local power utility and local food systems. 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.
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.