Top Paddlers Pledge Support for Climate Change Project

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This week, a collection of top paddlers released an open letter to the paddling community calling for support of a project designed to help control climate change. The project, called River of Action, asks paddlers across the country to participate in the 350.org International Day of Climate Action by representing the number 350. In Portland, for example, hundreds of sea kayakers, canoesists, whitewater kayakers and SUPers are forming a giant floating 350 on the Willamette River in the heart of the city.

The goal, says event organizer Trip Jennings, is to send a message to world leaders. “With the UN Climate Change Conference coming up this December in Copenhagen, now is the time for those who support effective climate change legislation to make their voices heard. Public support is essential if we expect anything to get accomplished.”

The open letter to paddlers:

Dear kayakers, rafters, canoeists, stand up paddlers and all paddling enthusiasts,

We are among the luckiest people in the world. We have the opportunity to easily experience some of the most beautiful, remote and pristine places there are, simply by floating through them. But, for one day this October we’re asking the boating community to do something different.

On October 24th, we’re asking paddlers across the globe to go to the most prominent waterways in their community with as many friends as they can gather to form the numbers 350. We’ll be joining with hundreds of thousands of people the world over to send a message our representatives negotiating the future of our climate.

350 parts per million (ppm) is the amount of carbon dioxide the earth’s atmosphere can handle without catastrophic climate change. Sadly, we’re already at 390ppm so when global leaders meet this December in Copenhagen to negotiate the agreement that will replace Kyoto, we need to make sure they meet the goal of getting us back to 350. That’s why the organization 350.org, started by writer Bill McKibben, has organized this international day of climate action six weeks before the Copenhagen meetings. And the idea is catching on. Every country in the world except N. Korea has scheduled actions.

If you’re a river enthusiast, you may have already noticed that the winter snowpacks are less than they used to be, snow is melting earlier in the season, and glaciers are getting smaller. If your rivers aren’t fed by snow you may have noticed more erratic rainfall. Maybe you’re a sea kayaker and you’ve seen the coral reef die off due to the increased temperature resulting in altered pH balance.

However you enjoy your days of paddling, it’s time to come together and act. The Epicocity Project has created two tools to help paddlers participate in the 350 movement.

First, on October 15th we’re releasing a kayaking video we’ve been working on about the effect of climate change on rivers from the perspective of an expedition kayaker. We’re asking kayak shops and groups around the country to host a pre-party, show the film and use the gathering as a chance to organize for the day of action on the 24th.

Next, we built a web site to help paddlers organize and come together on the 24th. Please take a few minutes and visit RiverOfAction.com. If you don’t already see an action and a pre-party posted in your community, organize one! Contact us, contact your local outdoor shop to see if they’d like to help and of course ask your friends to help.

Let’s stand up for the climate and the future of our planet as one giant community, both on the water and off.

RiverOfAction.com – 541.729.3294 – RiverOfAction@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Trip Jennings, Andy Maser, Pat Keller, Richard Bangs, Andrew Holcomb, Anna Levesque, Tao Berman, Sam Drevo, Jon Bowermaster, Seth Warren, Tyler Bradt, Eric “EJ” Jackson, Joe Jacobi

Check out a video of the practice 350 done in Portland this summer on YouTube.