October 10 2010 (10/10/10) is the day chosen for a Global Work Party that nobody should miss:

_"The place is wherever you live. And the point is to do something that will help deal with global warming in your city or community. We’re calling it a Global Work Party, with emphasis on both 'work' and 'party'. In Auckland, New Zealand, they’re having a giant bike fix-up day, to get every bicycle in the city back on the road. In the Maldives, they’re putting up solar panels on the President’s office. In Kampala, Uganda, they're going to plant thousands of trees, and in Bolivia they’re installing solar stoves for a massive carbon neutral picnic. Since we've already worked hard to call, email, petition, and protest to get politicians to move, and they haven't moved fast enough, now it's time to show that we really do have the tools we need to get serious about the climate crisis."_

The reason why this is important and “everyday should be 10/10/10” is explained in the website of the campaign whose name and goal caused october 10 to be chosen for a global work party: 10:10 is a global campaign to cut carbon emissions by 10% a year starting in 2010.

I like this approach a lot because, unlike other environmental initiatives, it’s immediately practicable by everybody. Only (relatively) rich people, or people with very particular work or family situations can afford to start living without polluting today: you know, things like buying an electric car or a solar-powered cottage on some island or pristine forest, with enough land around to feed you and your family from 100% organic food. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but obviously many of us can’t afford it, right? Not to mention that even if everybody did have enough money to buy a solar-powered cottage etc… by doing so, in many areas, we would just destroy, instead of preserving, that little wilderness still left.

The 10:10 approach, instead, is great because:

  • it has none of those problems: reducing your environmental impact by only 10% is really doable without being rich or turning your lifestyle upside up (the website is full of practical suggestions). I mean, even simlpy paying attention to Christmas can do a lot!

  • unlike buying an electric car or carbon-neutral house, it costs nothing or very little money, in many cases it will immediately save some of your money and in many others will be fun and relaxing (like helping to plant one tree in the city park)

  • it’s much easier to convince others to do the same. Asking friends who maybe are living paycheck to paycheck to go solar may seem like a cruel joke, helping them to find local food that is environmentally friendly and doesn’t cost a fortune is a totally different thing

  • it can make a difference: only very few people can switch to carbon-neutral living today. Even if they all did it now, they’re few enough that, on a global scale, they probably wouldn’t make any meaningful difference in the short term. Whereas hundreds millions people could indeed start now to reduce their environmental impact of 510% and if they did start now it would make a huge difference very soon.

Of course, this will happen only if these changes, however little, will last. Giving up the car for one day it’s almost useless, committing to use it less than what you’ve done so far is great, as long as you stick to that resolution. Even if “less” is no more than 510% less. So please make sure that every day is 10/10/10 for you from now on!

P.S.: for the record, one of my personal 1010 actions will be to replace our family car (when it breaks, but we’re almost there…) with… the smallest car we can afford. Why? Because, in addition to all the 10:10 reasons to do it, in Italy, as in many other places, there’s simply no space for cars anymore.