It's a beautiful day in Saskatoon. After an appearance on Global TV this morning, I'm spending the afternoon on a sunny patio reflecting on what has been a long and action-packed tour. It's been months since my band mates and I quit our jobs, left our homes, moved into an RV and became full time musicians/environmentalists. For over 100 days we've been crisscrossing Canada promoting our second LP, It Might Take Long and our environmental initiative, 'The Jellyfish Project'. By night we perform in the bars and nightclubs of our country's thriving music scene, and by day we go to school, not as students, but as teachers. We combine live music with a dynamic slideshow presentation on the largest issue humanity has ever faced. It's the single most important lesson our students will ever learn at school: the current state of our planet and the dire need for an immediate transition to environmental sustainability.
You've been hearing about it a lot lately. Get used to it, because it's not going away. Human civilization is colliding with the biosphere at an alarming rate and we are running out of time to turn things around. Last month, for the first time in recorded history, the global concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere (the primary driver of climate change) reached 400 parts per million (ppm). This is a significant milestone and hopefully a catalyst for rapid action to cull carbon emissions. But as long as our addiction to fossil fuels remains, we will continue to pump 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the sky each day. This further agitates an already hostile global climate system that is acidifying our oceans, melting the polar ice cap, shattering records for droughts, fires, floods, and producing super storms like Hurricane Sandy.
As 350.org's Bill Mckibbon described in his landmark Rolling Stone article last summer, it's all pretty simple. Human consumption of fossil fuels has resulted in a global average temperature increase of 1 degree C higher than pre-industrial levels. Even the most conservative governments and biggest polluters on earth have agreed that in order to avoid complete disaster, we must not surpass 2 degrees of warming. This allows us to emit 565 giga-tons (565 BILLION tons) more CO2 into the atmosphere, which would take about 15 years at current emission rates. The problem is that corporations have 2,795 giga-tons worth of CO2 emissions still in the ground, five times the safe amount, and they plan on extracting and burning it all. It's pretty scary.
Fortunately, a movement to end this destruction is expanding exponentially. Organizations from across the globe have come together to confront this crisis head on and have orchestrated a movement utilizing all facets of activism. The Jellyfish Project is proud to contribute a piece to this global movement.
Since the launch of The Jellyfish Project in early 2013 we have presented to dozens of schools and reached over 13,000 Canadian students. I can say without hesitation that our presentations have been a major success on all fronts and we have received tremendous feedback from students, parents, teachers, and principals. Our plan is working; the rock show at the beginning of the presentation captivates the students and puts them into a receptive state of mind. When we launch into our slideshow, they are curious as to what we have to say and listen attentively. A consistent piece of feedback that we've received from students is that unlike other environmental presentations, The Jellyfish Project hasn't left them feeling hopeless and depressed. It's left them feeling hopeful and optimistic, but also with a sense of urgency.
We are proud of what we have accomplished so far, and excited about what is to come. We are spending the summer playing music festivals, and in September we'll begin a 3-month nationwide tour, performing in dozens of nightclubs and presenting in up to 45 schools and 30,000 students. We've received a tremendous amount of media attention, a regular stream of requests for school bookings, and presented our project at the Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) annual conference at The University of Victoria where we were featured as a 'success story.'
We are in a unique position right now with The Jellyfish Project. The environmental conversation is growing rapidly. This trend will continue and intensify. We are in a position to be 'leaders' and make a significant contribution to the movement. We have found a unique way to contribute. It's an amazing opportunity, and also a responsibility, I think.
There are two universal principles that we prescribe to. The first is that motivation follows action, and the second is that whatever you focus on expands. We've found these principles to be true. With every presentation we do, every documentary we watch, or article we read, we grow more passionate about our work and more motivated to continue. Of course, there are days when it all seems too overwhelming, too difficult, too hopeless. The statistics are shocking. But we are continually inspired and motivated by the thriving global movement towards environmental sustainability, and by the hopeful and enthusiastic faces of our students.
It's important to note that we are not trying to reinvent the wheel or compete with anyone. We are not going to create our own petitions or organize our own rallies. There are many organizations that already do an excellent job of that. It is our job to refer young people to these organizations, to play a middle man of sorts, and recruit youth to become activists. Aside from giving the students a thorough education and understanding of the problem, it's imperative that we give them the knowledge and tools to become actively engaged in the solution. That is the fundamental goal of the Jellyfish Project - to assist the revolution in the most effective way possible.
Some of our other goals are to be a part of WE DAY, present to 100,000 students, take part in environmental conferences world wide, tour the USA, Australia, and Europe, and eventually recruit and train other bands to do exactly the same thing - exponentially expanding the impact of our program. We realize these goals are large, but it's going to take large action from us and thousands of others to confront this crisis.