Saturday October 24, 2009 was the International Day of Climate Action, a day where thousands of people from almost 200 countries around the world participated in actions to demonstrate the importance of 350 ppm. Leading up to this day we participated in the Team 350 Challenge, which aimed to raise awareness of the 350 movement within the skiing and rowing communities.
The Day of Action happened to coincide with a rare day off from training for us so there was a fair amount of discussion about what we should do. It was of course agreed upon that we wanted to do something for 350, but it was difficult coming to a consensus. I suggested not driving for the day and maybe writing letters to congress people and senators but this was no good; no one wanted to spend our only full day off cooped up and we felt that part of the point of 350 was doing something within a larger community. The closest 350 action was in Reno, which would unfortunately mean driving. It was tough being away from Craftsbury. We wanted to do something for the big day and felt at a loss about what to do in a community where we didn’t know anyone. And frankly, we felt like we had “shot ourselves in the foot” because we had just traveled across the country for a training camp.
In the end the girls spent a relaxing morning drinking coffee and soaking up the sun by the shores of Lake Tahoe. In the evening we went to the action in Reno that included a potluck supper, petition signing, discussion, and photographs. During the day we kept a close eye on the 350 website, following all of the actions from all over the world.
For me the most important parts of the day were some serious and sobering moments of introspection. I was alternately inspired and discouraged. At times photos or stories from the 350 movement sent shivers of hope down my back; at other times I felt wracked with guilt about not doing enough or fearful that the task ahead is too large. I would say, unfortunately, that the moments of guilt and fear were more powerful. But the bottom line is neither of those emotions are going to help the cause in any way. I thought a lot about the near future (How much travel is really necessary for a Nordic skier? If we had an altitude tent, we could do altitude training back in Vermont.) and the more distant future (What kind of post-ski racing job will allow me to help the cause the most?). Thinking wasn’t as satisfying or as important as doing, but I believe it was necessary.
As a team, the Day of Action got us thinking and talking about how much, much more we need to do. We are brainstorming and discussing, trying to come up with some big ideas. We haven’t hit on anything huge yet, but until we do we will be sure to continue doing the small things.