Activists turn up the heat on climate

A man wrapped in a wet suit slid belly down near the crowd of 200 people gathered at Christopher Columbus Park, home to one of more than 5,200 events in 181 countries organized for the International Day of Climate Action.

“I want the earth to survive,’’ said 60-year-old Susan McLucas, a red snorkel pushing up her gray hair. “I don’t want our children and grandchildren to have to rush for higher ground.’’

As people hoisted green and yellow kayaks in the air, Seth Itzkan of Medford held a hockey stick and a poster that read: “Bring back the ice!’’

“People need to understand how important ice is to our climate,’’ Itzkan said. “We need a healthy North Pole.’’

Billed as the world’s largest political environmental effort, yesterday’s events sought to push 350 - the parts per million some leading scientists say is the safe limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - into the spotlight. (The carbon dioxide rate hung at 387 parts per million yesterday, according to Industrial pollution kicks up the rate.

The international gatherings, organized by founder and Lexington native Bill McKibben, ranged from a submerged group of scuba divers in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to a potluck in Wellfleet.

“We’re taking the most important number in the world and trying to make it the most well known,’’ said McKibben, who was interviewed by phone yesterday from New York.

Red-shirted climbers in Middlebury, Vt., took their cause to the hills, forming a large 3, 5, and 0 on a craggy mountain.


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