350.org is organizing a day of action to communicate how extreme weather and climate change are connected.
People around the world are becoming more aware of shifts in weather patterns and many are facing severe conditions like droughts and floods. It can be difficult, however, to convey to the public how these unusual events are part of a complex system of rising global temperatures. 350.org is encouraging people to see the connections between these phenomena and to support communities that are "at the front lines" of climate change.
"Climate Impacts Day" will be held on May 5, 2012 and organizers are asking individuals and groups to "rally, protest, educate, volunteer, build, dig, and create" to raise awareness about climate impacts and to send a message to decision makers that climate action is necessary to protect our communities. The campaign is international in scope and focuses on the concept "connecting the dots" between weather and climate. 350.org is asking supporters to visually represent a "dot" and share photos in an effort to put a human face on the impacts of climate change.
The campaign includes an Event Toolkit with action ideas, photo tips, and a 10-Step Plan to help supporters organize the event in their own communities. The 10 steps are useful organizing guidelines that can be applied to a range of public engagement events:
1. Bring together a team and register your event.
2. Set some goals.
3. Plan your event (what, where, when).
4. Recruit, recruit, recruit!
5. Sort out the details (logistics like permits, speakers, etc.)
6. Invite your leaders.
7. Get creative (think artistic banners and fun chants).
8. Invite the press.
9. Connect the Dots! (know the key messages)
10. Report back and keep connecting the dots (send photos and videos)
The campaign also created an infographic that highlights extreme weather events and natural disasters around the world and illustrates how floods, heat waves, droughts, forest fires, and storms have significantly increased in severity and frequency in the last 30 years.