350 Madison thinks globally, acts locally

Group demands more of lawmakers

The world is interconnected when it comes to climate change and its effects. However, a coordinated response to the issue is stymied by political divisiveness, especially at the federal level in the United States. That is why pressure to act is being brought to bear on the local level.

That’s the approach of 350 Madison. The local chapter of 350.org, an international organizing effort, has created climate action teams pushing Wisconsin-focused campaigns.

350 Madison has about 150 dues-paying members and a mailing list of about 1,700 people.

Gail Nordheim, co-coordinator for 350 Madison, says the name of the group comes from what science tells us is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – 350 parts per million.

Nordheim, who worked in state and county government and as a management consultant, repeats what virtually everyone looking at this issue says: “It is truly the existential issue of our time,” and “it will take individuals all over the world to rise up and demand action.”

And demanding action is what 350 Madison has been doing. It stages events and campaigns that are intended to educate people and pressure leaders to act.350 Madison thinks globally, acts locally

350 Madison’s website outlines the group’s opposition to expanding extraction of fossil fuels from oil sands and the transportation of the material by pipeline from Canada to Wisconsin. The extraction, refinement and transportation of oil sands, environmentalists say, releases far more greenhouse gases than that of conventional oil.

350 Madison also has a “Divest & Defund” campaign in which the group urges companies to not invest in fossil fuels, particularly banks that fund pipeline projects.

The group favors environmentally sustainable energy policies, but also urges individuals to “take responsibility for [their] own fossil fuel use.” The aim, Nordheim says, is to mobilize people “to take action and fight climate change to protect their families, their communities and the planet.”

The efforts may be local, but when taken collectively in communities across the country and globe, the thought is that these efforts will result in national action and international benefit.

For more information on the group, go to 350Madison.org.

Read more about warning signs of climate change in Madison here.