June 17, 2024

 Celebrating 350.org: The Top 10 Most Influential Moments in Our History

350.org was founded in 2008 by author and environmentalist Bill McKibben alongside a group of university friends. The name was inspired by NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen’s research indicating that 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe upper limit to avoid catastrophic climate change. This foundational moment set the stage for a new kind of environmental activism. Its hard to choose our favourite as so much has happened, but here are a few. 

  1. First International Day of Climate Action (2009)

On October 24, 2009, 350.org organized the world’s first International Day of Climate Action. Over 5,200 events in 181 countries took place, from rallies and marches to public art displays. This unprecedented global mobilization highlighted the need for urgent action to reduce CO2 levels and marked 350.org as a leading force in climate advocacy.

  1. Global Work Party (2010)

In 2010, the Global Work Party brought together communities worldwide to take tangible steps toward sustainability. On October 10th, people from 188 countries participated in activities ranging from planting trees to installing solar panels. This event showcased the power of grassroots action and the collective will to combat climate change.

  1. Keystone XL Pipeline Opposition (2011)

350.org played a crucial role in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed project to transport tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Through organizing protests, civil disobedience, and public awareness campaigns, 350.org helped delay and ultimately influence the Obama administration’s decision to reject the pipeline in 2015.

  1. Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign (2012)

The launch of the Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign in 2012 marked a strategic shift in targeting the financial underpinnings of the fossil fuel industry. By urging institutions to divest from fossil fuels, the campaign successfully pressured universities, churches, and pension funds to move billions of dollars away from fossil fuel investments, highlighting the economic risks of climate inaction. By 2023, the Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign reached a milestone with over $14 trillion committed to divestment by various institutions. This achievement represents a significant shift in the financial landscape, reflecting the growing recognition of the economic and environmental risks associated with fossil fuel investments.


  1. People’s Climate March (2014)

In September 2014, the People’s Climate March in New York City saw over 400,000 people demanding climate action, making it the largest climate march in history. Organized by 350.org and a coalition of environmental groups, this event demonstrated the broad public support for addressing climate change ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit.

6 Break Free From Fossil Fuels Campaign (2016)

In May 2016, the Break Free from Fossil Fuels campaign mobilized tens of thousands of people across six continents to engage in direct action against fossil fuel projects. By targeting coal mines, oil wells, and gas infrastructure, the campaign underscored the urgent need to transition to renewable energy sources and leave fossil fuels in the ground.


  1. Global Climate Strikes (2019)

Inspired by Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement, 350.org supported the Global Climate Strikes in September 2019. Millions of people, particularly youth, took to the streets worldwide to demand climate justice and urgent action from policymakers. This historic mobilization highlighted the intergenerational demand for a sustainable future.


  1. Power Up (2023)

From November 3 to December 12, 2023, 350.org hosted more than 220 events on every continent, in big cities and on small islands. We built on each other’s strength, grief and support and used art to show that a world powered by fair renewable energy is not only possible: It is ours to make.

Our voice was loud and went far: from the streets worldwide to the corridors of power at the UN Climate talks in Dubai. We spotlighted the fossil fuels industry’s greed and reclaimed the money and power to fund a just and peaceful future powered by the sun, the wind and the people – everywhere.


  1. Finance and Policy campaigning

While harnessing the power of grassroots action, there is no denying that to affect real and lasting change, we need to influence the world’s most powerful institutions. Using a variety of inside and outside track strategies and tactics, 350.org has fought for some of the world’s most powerful countries, largest banks to adopt climate-friendly policies. From sending and supporting campaigners to the negotiating table at the annual UN climate talks and international arenas like G7 and G20 summits to taking part in shareholder actions to influence the Japanese megabanks and international development banks across the globe, we’ve helped to redirect money away from fossil fuels and into the renewable energy revolution, while influencing the global narrative and holding power accountable.


  1. Stop Eacop 


French oil giant Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation are on the cusp of building a massive crude oil pipeline right through the heart of Africa – displacing communities, endangering wildlife and tipping the world closer to full-blown climate catastrophe.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline needs to be stopped and activists from across the local communities, human rights defenders and environmental activists are doing all they can to resist the pipeline, but they are facing increasing pressure and threats for speaking out against the corporate and political interests backing EACOP. 350.org is supporting their work and ensuring their voices are heard loud and clear.

Building the biggest heated oil pipeline in the world is expensive work. Fortunately Total and CNOOC can’t do it alone – they need support from investors, banks, and insurance firms around the world.350.org works tirelessly to highlight the risks, crank up the pressure in boardrooms, and make sure EACOP is starved of the corporate and political support it needs.


Looking Ahead

As we celebrate these influential moments, we remain committed to the fight for a sustainable and just future. 350.org continues to innovate, inspire, and mobilize communities around the world. Together, we will build on our past successes to tackle the climate challenges ahead.And in parallel we build public pressure for renewable energy solutions at national and community levels to propagate widespread public demand. At 350, we are looking at the longer-term path beyond fossil fuels, and the world we need to build to enable the just transition from fossil fuels. We are creating a solutions-focused version of our divestment campaign – working with groups, partners, and networks to secure investment in, and political action on the scaling and implementation of renewable energy on a global scale.

We will help regular people reclaim control of their future and give them the tools they need to fight against the climate emergency, with life-changing solutions right where they live, in their communities. We will train local volunteer community leaders to use their collective wisdom to build and campaign for local renewable energy campaigns. While politicians can be slow to make change, the people will be building the future they want to see from the ground up. Each local fight may feel small, but when connected can become a visible and active global movement of people saying ‘Yes to renewable energy in my community!’ – a force that moves politicians to follow the people. 

Join us in this journey as we strive to create a world where the climate is stable, and communities thrive. The fight is far from over, and with your support, we will continue to push for the changes needed to protect our planet for generations to come.

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