Let’s dig a little deeper into this mission by breaking it down.
Build a diverse, grassroots movement – We strive for diversity because a diverse variety of perspectives gives a broader and better view. We want a future that works for everyone, so we need everyone to be part of deciding what that future looks like. Grassroots means people-power, or a bottom-up approach to organizing. It means that we are a volunteer-driven and volunteer-led organization, where volunteers lead our teams, set the direction of the organization and decide which campaigns we work on. 350PDX is not a few staff members and hundreds of people who volunteer for 350PDX – those hundreds of volunteers are 350PDX, and you can be too!
To address the causes of climate disruption – We work on systemic change rather than individual behavior change. Instead of putting the responsibility on individuals to change their behavior, we put pressure on politicians, industries and businesses to change the systems people live in, so that the easiest choice (and perhaps the only choice) for everyone is the sustainable one.
Through justice-based solutions – We aspire not to be an environmental nonprofit, but to be a climate justice organization. We recognize that the causes of climate disruption are the same root causes as other environmental, social, economic and racial injustices. It is the extractive economy that both extracts resources and exploits people (watch this video for an intro to this topic). We follow the leadership of communities that are hit by the climate crisis first and most, as those on the front lines of climate change understand best what the justice-based solutions are.
By inspiring, training and mobilizing people to act – They have money, we have people. We are our greatest resource, and 350PDX’s mission is to inspire you to act, to give you the skills and knowledge you need, and to give you the opportunity to engage in real, meaningful, effective action that will fully address the climate crisis, and bring about a just and equitable future for all. We also focus on mobilizing believers. 72% of Oregonians believe solving climate change requires us to change our way of life. We do not need to convince the climate deniers, there are more than enough people on our side, we just need to mobilize them.
350.org was founded in 2008 by a group of university friends along with author Bill McKibben, who wrote one of the first books on global warming for the general public, with the goal of building a global climate movement.
350PDX is a local group affiliated with 350.org (in other words, we’re friends), but we are a completely separate organization in that we make all of our own decisions, set our own campaign priorities and do all our own fundraising.
The number 350 comes from the scientific safe upper limit of how many parts per million of carbon dioxide should be in the atmosphere (in other words, for every million particles of the oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor, etc. that make up air, a maximum of 350 particles should be carbon dioxide). Before the industrial revolution that number was roughly 270. We are currently at around 415, meaning we are overstepping this important planetary boundary and need to stop emitting greenhouse gases and bring that number back down to 350 or below as fast as possible.
350PDX is a non-discriminatory organization that seeks to support and empower all those working within a diverse and inclusive climate justice movement. For that reason we adhere to both the letter and the spirit of applicable laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, citizenship status, veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic prohibited by law. We actively strive to create a space of equity and trust for all who wish to contribute to our goals and welcome those who can teach us how to do this better. Any concerns about misconduct are received and dealt with seriously.