FREE SPEECH ZONE | 101010 marked by Global Work Party for 350.org

If you looked down at the Mill Ruin Park underneath the Stone Arch Bridge this past Sunday, you may have seen a crowd of approximately 500 people and perhaps even a giant whale, gathered around a solar powered sound system and a series of information booths. At first glance it could be hard to imagine that this congregation of citizens, elected officials and non-profit leaders were being joined in solidarity by 7,000 other demonstrations in 188 countries around the world, from the front lawn of the White House to the streets of downtown Istanbul and the countryside of Laos.   The date, October 10th, 2010; the occasion, 350.org’s Global Work Party-a day to celebrate environmentalist initiatives taken across cultures and nations; the message to political figures around the world, “stop dragging [your] feet and get to work on climate solutions.” Formed over the past two years by renowned author Bill McKibben and a handful of students from Middlebury College, 350.org is an international grassroots movement “to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis-to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.” The number 350 comes from a 2008 report from James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which posits that an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 350 parts per million is the upper limit to which the biosphere can sustain itself without irreparable climate damage, such as completely melting the Greenland ice sheets. Hansen’s research points out that prior the western industrial revolution this concentration had stayed constant at 275 ppm. Continue Reading

Yes, they can: Closing the college gap with Admission Possible

Maximino Garcia Marin, a 2010 Patrick Henry High School graduate, will be the first person in his immediate family to attend college. He is one of the success stories, and one of this year’s 667 graduates, of the Admission Possible program, now in its tenth year and growing. Admission Possible is a program that works with high school juniors and seniors from low-income families to help them focus on raising test scores and getting college admissions and scholarships. According to Admission Possible, “Nearly 80% of our students who enrolled in college are still working toward their college degree or have graduated. … By comparison, only 7% of all low-income students nationwide earn a college degree by age 24.” Continue Reading