Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

building an ark: climate change Plan B

If the the US doesn’t agree now to curb emissions at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, a lot of people will be underwater, including our very own capital city in the US. Little known fact: If the sea level continues to rise, especially if ice sheets start crashing down into the ocean, Washington DC could be underwater within minutes.

That’s why climate justice activists are building an ark on the national mall in Washington DC, which they call “Plan B” if Copenhagen talks fail to result in meaningful action to stop climate change.

Aaron Dickerson, a tennis instructor in the Washington DC area, heard about the ark and "just had to come down and help" build it. The ark was recently moved to the national mall, where further construction is underway.

“We are saving the planet with this thing. We’re putting the animals on it, you know, two by two, starting with the pandas from the National Zoo,” jokes Aaron Dickerson, a tennis instructor in the Washington DC area who heard about the project and said he “just had to come down and help.”

The ark has recently been moved from a warehouse in Adams Morgan to the national mall, where construction is underway. When the ark is completed on Saturday it will be nearly 60 feet long and topped with a roof. The deck will house cardboard cutouts of pairs of animals, and the ark will remain on the national mall for several days after completion to allow time for passersby to view the ark and write messages of hop on its walls.

A press advisory from Avaaz.org, the group building the ark, explains:

Building an ark to save us from climate change on the National Mall in Washington DC Noah’s Ark signifies the scale of calamity that climate change poses to communities across the globe. While a “Real Deal” is “Climate Plan A,” the Ark depicts “Climate Plan B” and the lack of current options for a fair, ambitious, and binding deal coming out of Copenhagen. The Ark will remain for several days after the event so that visitors can write messages of hope on its sides. It’s designed to tell our leaders that we want a deal that is:

Fair – $200 Billion in climate financing for poorer countries;
Ambitious – a 2015 peak year for carbon emissions and a safe carbon level of 350 ppm;
Binding – legally enforceable.

Builder and engineer Oscar Ramirez stands near a completed cross-section of the ark. When it is completed it will be nearly 60 feet long and be topped with a roof.

The event is sponsored by Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC. The building of the Ark is part of a national day of action by the international advocacy organization Avaaz (Avaaz.org), December 12, 2009, when there will be candlelight vigils around the world to call for meaningful action on climate change.

In Washington DC, the completed ark will be unveiled at the vigil on Saturday, December 12, at 4 PM. People are invited to come and write messages of hope on the ark.

Avaaz.org estimates that there will be over 2,000 vigils occurring across the world to call for meaningful action to stop climate change on Saturday, December 12. Messages will be directed at the delegates of the UN climate summit, which ends on December 18 and aims to set bold targets for cutting emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gasses. Both the US and China, the top two emitters of carbon, have agreed to curb their carbon emissions, but other points of agreement remain undetermined – that is, “in the air.”

Now is the time to pressure our leaders to do more. Governments are supposed to exist to help serve and protect the people, and there is no better way to help serve and protect than to help save humanity from the brink of certain demise due to climate change (even if it means a slow-down in -gasp!- economic growth, or even a contraction of the real economy).

“We’re telling our leaders, ‘Don’t make this ark our only choice,'” says Oscar Ramirez, builder and engineer of the ark, and organizer with Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC. “We need a real deal at Copenhagen. We need a deal that is fair, ambitious, and binding.”

Building of the ark is occurring on the national mall in between 12th & 13th Streets NW. The Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC has invited the community to come, help build, and become a part of the process.

Original design plans for the ark.

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Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, global justice, international relations, lacy's life

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