Ride350 Dispatch: The Beginning

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[Guest bloggers Lily Abood, Ben Jervey, and Adam Taylor will be writing from the road next week while biking 350 miles to raise awareness of climate change issues. This post is the first in the Mother Jones Ride350 Dispatch series.]

Climate change research tells us that unless we reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause irreversible damage to the planet. But is 350 really the most important number on Earth? Bill McKibben thinks so, and so do we. That’s why Ben, Adam, and I will be riding bicycles 350 miles from Arcata to San Francisco on October 19-24. We’ll do this with the support of 350.org, an international coalition of concerned individuals building a global grassroots climate movement around the most important number on the planet: 350.

For us, riding 350 miles along the northern California coast is a small yet important act of solidarity to spread the word about climate change. Along the way, we plan to engage local activists, politicians, school children, and everyday citizens to mobilize for change as well. We don’t claim to be climate experts, or the most knowledgeable activists on the road, but our hearts are in the right place and we’re motivated to help. Many of us, like you, have already started making small changes in our daily lives to minimize carbon emissions—packing reusable grocery bags, switching off lights when we leave the room, and recycling everything we can (clothes, plastics, cars, apartments), etc. But together we can do more.

350.org is an international organization calling everyday citizens to action with the belief that raising awareness around the number 350 will put pressure on world leaders to aggressively address climate change, causing a paradigm shift in how individual countries approach a global problem. The organization asks only that we take action to spread the number—how we choose to do so is completely up to us. (For inspiration, check out this action being organized in the Middle East.)

As a team, we look forward to keeping in touch with the Mother Jones community as we make this journey. Please leave comments with your thoughts, words of encouragement, and any suggestions of places to see, people to meet, or actions to take as we ride from Arcata to San Francisco. And, if you’re in the Bay Area, please consider welcoming us home in San Francisco on October 24 for 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action. Groups like Greenpeace, the Mobilization for Climate Justice, and Global Exchange are organizing the event, and it promises to be an inspiring day.—Lily Abood

Adam Taylor is a green building consultant in San Francisco. While a bicycle enthusiast, he has never done anything like Ride350 before in his life—you can tell by looking at his legs. Ben Jervey is a journalist, activist, world traveler, great wedding dancer, and looks great in spandex. Lily Abood has worked with nonprofits in the Bay Area for 10 years (including her current role as Mother Jones’ Major Gifts Officer). She plans to hug a lot of CA redwoods while she’s on this adventure. For more information about the entire Ride350 team, check out the rider profiles here.

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Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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