Letter: Bennington climate group up and running

To the editor:

A seed was planted during an interfaith study of Pope Francis' encyclical "On Care for Our Common Home." The intent was the growth of a secular community group focused on education and action to slow, and eventually help to halt, the spiraling warming of our precious planet's atmosphere. The small group linked itself to the now world-wide climate organization 350.org, a movement originally founded in Vermont by Bill McKibben and Middlebury College students. The cryptic name was based on scientific studies showing that earth could not remain the very habitable planet on which humans and so many other species had flourished if the concentration of CO2 (carbon dioxide) rose above 350 parts per million. (The concentration is now over 400 parts and still growing and the consequences are now being clearly seen.)

Growth was slow at first and it even took a long time to settle on a name. The group is now Climate Advocates Bennington of 350 Vermont. It has a name and it is active. It has linked itself with other local volunteer bodies and takes the lead when the focus is on climate. Activities during March and April have included, and will include: meetings with local legislators; a lobbying and information gathering trip to Montpelier; letter writing (obviously); Earth Day events on April 22 featuring a showing of Leonardo DeCaprio's film "Before the Flood" at Oldcastle Theater; and, with the added energy of Bennington College students, organizing a local bus to Washington, DC, to participate - while flourishing 30 large papier mache bees representing at-risk species - in the April 29 "People's Climate March."

The now spring-flowering group can be reached at climateadvocates350@gmail.com.

— David A. Durfee



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