Three Numbers You Should Know About Global Warming

In my recent article, Mindful Consumption Can Save Mother Earth, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh called our attention to the extent of damage to global warming and water pollution caused by livestock and the political, social, and economic environment around it.

Drawing on this article I would like to add that at each monastery founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, they observe a no car day each week, and they have been doing so since at least 2006. In addition, Deer Park Monastery near San Diego, CA generates 100 percent of its electrical power from solar energy for monastery use.

The same day I wrote the above article, my son posted a link to the video below on myFacebook page.

In this video called Do The Math, Bill McKibben asks us to do the math and realize that we are headed for a calamity due to global warming and  because of our mindless consumption of fossil fuels.

McKibben is the author of The End of Nature. He is an environmentalist who founded along with seven students from Middlebury College in Vermont.

Bill McKibben and, along with hundreds of thousands of others, are taking on the fossil fuel companies directly. They are supported by scores of big names and they certainly have my support.


350 means safety from the climate crisis.

To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million (“ppm”)to below 350 ppm. But 350 is more than a number—it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.

At, we’re building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and push for policies that will put the world on track to get to 350 ppm.

Today, the CO2 level is 395 ppm. About this, Dr. James Hansen, Director of the Goddard Institute, NASA stated in a significant scientific paper, Target Atmosphere: Where Should Humanity Aim?,

 “We now know the value of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible on a planet on which civilization developed to which life on earth is adapted.”

The three numbers you should know about global warming are , 565 gigatons, and 2,795 gigatons. What are these numbers?

 is the number of degrees Celsius that it is safe to allow the planet to warm up by. This number was agreed to by all countries in the UN except North Korea. Unfortunately, there is now no way to stop this from happening.

565 gigatons is the maximum amount of CO2 that we could put in the atmosphere and have a reasonable chance to stay below 2°. A gigaton is a billion tons – 565,000,000,000 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere! The problem is that we pour 30 gigatons in the air each year, so by 2020, we will exceed this second number.

2,795 gigatons is the number of tons of fossil fuels currently on reserve. Pouring this much into the atmosphere is certainly going to lead to the loss of life as we know it.

The earth can recover from such a catastrophe in millions of years, but we will be long gone by then. recommends that citizens, cities, colleges, and universities divest themselves of investments in the fossil fuel industry. I know that Unity College in Maine and Stanford University have agreed to do so. So have the cities of San Francisco, CA; Berkeley, CA; Richmond, CA; Eugene, OR; Boulder, CO; Madison, WI; Bayfield, WI; Ithaca, NY; State College, PA; and the first one on board, Seattle, WA. Bravo to these cities and Universities!

The organization demands of the fossil fuel industry:

  1. Make no new investments in fossil fuels.
  2. Wind down existing fossil fuel investments in five years [and apply the money to renewable resources].

Oil companies can prove they are serious by stopping their spending of $440,000 per day on lobbying congress, stop exploring for more resources, and plan to figure out how to keep 80% of the known reserves underground.

The organization considers the fossil fuel industry to be outlaws to the laws of physics. They are holding us hostage with their money, influence, and power.

A comment by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. could have come right out of this blog: “We’re connected to each other and that’s got to be the organizing basis for this larger fight.”

Along these same lines, Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, said

We are not going to create the clean energy economy when one side beats the other. We are going to win when we all come together for solutions that work for all of us.

This is the strongest statement of interbeing, of interconnectedness, of interdependence that I have seen outside of mindfulness circles since the Zeitgeist movie indicated that we live in an emergent world.

Do The Math brought up many issues for me and I reacted in much the same way as when Zeitgeist – The Movie came out.

I felt outraged to learn that the top five oil companies made $137,000,000,000 ($137 billion) last year alone. That’s $375,000,000 per day!

Not only that, they gained $66,000,000 per day of federal tax breaks that no one else has.

I’ve already mentioned the $440,000 per day that they spend on lobbying congress.

The kicker, as far as I am concerned is the $100,000 per day that the CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson makes.

If all this makes you the least bit depressed, don’t just sit there. Take action. Even Bill McKibben said, “The best antidote for depression is to take action.”

Here are some of the things you can now do to take action:

  1. Plan to divests yourself of fossil fuel investments as soon as feasible.
  2. Sign up to receive updates from
  3. Co-sign the open letter to President Barak Obama.
  4. Help this and related posts go viral by sharing it with your friends.
  5. Sign The Declaration of Interdependence.

I am grateful that you took the time to read this article to the end. To show my gratitude, I’ll be happy to share one of my guided meditations with you if you purchase one. Furthermore, I will forward all the proceeds from these sales to

There is one guided meditation that you can use to visualize a world less reliant on fossil fuels. Click on the image below to order.

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  1. […] results. For example, if we are concerned with global warming, we can support an organization like and do so with wisdom and compassion and without any notion of personal […]