350 River of Action: A Personal Account of International Day of Climate Action

Hundreds of kayakers, paddle-boarders and canoeists gathered on the Willamette River Saturday in support of the International Day of Climate Action. Together, we joined our boats, creating “350” in the river, a representation of the 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is the safe upper limit, according to leading scientists.

Check out this short video about the event…

Creating our 350 was NOT as easy as it sounds!! We’d get the “0” in perfect formation and the “5’s” would start drifting apart. We’d get the “3” picture perfect, and the “0” would be floating out of camera view. “EVERYONE PADDLE SOUTH” the mega-phoned guy on top of the bridge would blast, and we’d scramble south and re-form our numbers.

Photo by Julie Serres (5)

Portland provided a beautiful fall day, crisp sunshine, brilliant river; paddle boarders, gorillas and salmon kayakers. And regular folk like me, aboard a boat loaned from Alder Creek Kayaks, praying I don’t dump myself in the river. A diverse group of people with a love for paddling and a desire to become part of the International Climate Action. A desire to join up with concerned citizens around the world to face our most daunting challenge.

We laughed, joked and maneuvered our crafts around haphazardly, jostling each other into formation; somehow managing to get into a fairly decent representation of 350 before the 0’s floated downriver and under the bridge. The camaraderie and spirit of the event was wondrous. We could feel the energy from around the world as more than 5,000 other actions were taking place simultaneously. Rivers have currents, and this movement of climate action has current ~ joining together later in the afternoon with close to 1,000 citizens in Downtown Portland for another rally.

Photo by Mark Gamba

I work at KEEN; at KEEN we’re striving to be good corporate citizens, creating awareness while creating great outdoor product. It’s joining up with projects like this which make it good fun to be part of this team. Projects like this are important. THANK YOU ALDER CREEK for loaning me the BIG YELLOW KAYAK.


The 350 River of Action event would not have been possible without the help of Naish, Epicocity Project, Alder Creek, Northwest River Guides, Next Adventure, NRS, The Kayak Shed, Mayor Sam Adams office, Mark Gamba, and many others who helped make this all possible.