What’s 350 got to do with it?

350gardensThe Steering Committee of Grow Food Amherst voted to support a 350 Garden Challenge project to encourage 350 Amherst residents to get involved in some aspect of Grow Food Amherst during the spring of 2013.

According to one of the organizers, Michelle Chandler of South Amherst, the 350 new members in Grow Food Amherst will represent about 1% of the population of the town, thus becoming thenew One Percent.”

carbonOf course many of us are aware of another meaning of the number 350.  According to many climate scientists, this is the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is a safe upper limit.  Anything above 350 contributes to radical climate change.  Today carbon dioxide is at 396.8.  This is a problem!

The members of Grow Food Amherst recognize that individual actions, like growing a garden, won’t “save the world.”  But without a personal commitment by many of us, it is unlikely that government leaders will find the political will to support much needed policy initiatives.

Government officials need to get elected every 2-, 4-, or 6-years, and find it difficult to support policies that won’t have a dramatic affect after their term of office.  But politicians have always been very good at “jumping in front of popular parades.”  If we start a “350 carbon consciousness” parade, the politicians will join us!


When enough of us take personal actions to reduce carbon emissions (like reducing our consumption of food shipped across the country by growing a bit of our own), politicians will jump right up front and lead the parade!

Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam
350 in Khazakstan
350 in Kazakhstan

There have been 350.org parades all over the world!





Individual actions are necessary but not sufficient.  But necessary they are!  Please join us by making a commitment to a small change, such as:

  • Create a new vegetable garden (or expanding an existing garden)
  • Plant a few fruit or nut trees
  • Build a raised bed for vegetables
  • Grow food plants in containers on a patio
  • Care for a potted herb on a windowsill

Or just indicate your support for Grow Food Amherst by signing up here!


For more information on the impact of carbon dioxide on radical climate change, see:

  1. A Safe Operating Space for HumanityNature 461, 472-475 (24 September 2009); doi:10.1038/461472a; Published online 23 September 2009
  2. Hansen, James, et al. Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim? Submitted April 7, 2008. NASA climate scientist James Hansen’s paper about the 350ppm target.
  3. Hansen, James, et al. Target Atmospheric CO2: Supporting Material. Submitted April 7, 2008.
    The IPCC 4th Assessment Report – link to the latest report by the Nobel-prize winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, supported by the world’s leading climatologists.

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