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Author Bill McKibben, whose 1989 book "The End of Nature" was one of the first to warn us of the threats of climate change, has helped launch a 90-second animation that's put the spotlight of where we need to be if human civilization is going to survive.

Once upon a time, before industrialization, before coal-fired power plants spewed carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that's precipitated climate change, there was a number. That number, 275, was the parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Flash forward more than 150 years later, that number has risen. The earth is hotter and we're in trouble. We're up to about 387 parts per million and that's not good. At least not in the sense that a seven-foot rise in sea levels would make Manhattan and Hong Kong into a SeaWorld might be problematic for some.

Based on the most up-to-date science, our goal to avoid that kind of global catastrophe is to get our carbon dioxide number down to 350 parts per million.

“We now in the last year have that number,” McKibben says, “and it's probably the most important number in the world.”

To McKibben and Company's credit, the video sends the message without words. That's useful as this global problem transcends language, culture and country. So watch it and spread the word.

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