Climate change advocates use CA orange sky photos to power message

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The apocalyptic orange sky on Wednesday was confusing and disturbing for many Bay Area residents, but climate advocates are seeing an opportunity to mark a mindset-changing moment.

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"It was as if the day was night," said Paul Scott, executive director at One Atmosphere, a San Francisco-based nonprofit climate change advocacy group.

With that moment, his organization posted a date-stamped photo on their Instagram with the message: "When Day Is Night .. will it finally dawn on us that the time for action is now. The caption, one word : VOTE."

"For people who are harder to reach, yesterday was probably a watershed moment, I mean it really brings it home," said Scott.

VIDEO: Dramatic photos capture orange, hazy skies seen all across San Francisco Bay Area
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All across the San Francisco Bay Area, residents woke up to dark, orange skies. Here's a look at some of the most dramatic images.

San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman says he plans to use the image, too, when he tries to pass legislation banning natural gas in new buildings in the city.

"We're going to be talking about the fires, we're going to be talking about the day the sun didn't come out," he said. "There are so many images from yesterday that I think will probably get used again and again."

It's happening already -- President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden -- all posting images of Northern California covered in that eerie glow, urging their followers to VOTE for a livable planet.

On ABC7's social media pages, we asked our viewers -- is climate change more urgent to you now because of Wednesday's orange skies? A majority on Twitter and Instagram said YES.

"I think for those people who lived through it, it will be a lasting effect... the sun didn't come out," added Helena Birecki with SF Climate Emergency Coalition. "When the sun doesn't come out, people recognize that something is very, very wrong and the question is how do we move forward, how do we take action that really provides a livable future for all."

Birecki's hope is that the orange sky images will also help Supervisor Mandelman's proposed ban on natural gas in new buildings. For Scott, he urges those who were moved by Wednesday's eerie experience to consider rallying others to vote with climate change in mind or do something simple -- like switch to LED lights.

"All the other images seemed distant. It's at some point in the future that it's posing a problem. Yesterday, it was very immediate," he said, "It's an iconic image, no doubt."

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