Sustainable NE Seattle

Connecting for a sustainable community

Citizen's Climate Lobby (CCL) - Making a Difference at the Federal Level

Citizens concerned about stopping greenhouse gas emmisions as soon as possible are forming small groups around the nation to lobby their Congressional representatives. Taking inspiration from Marshall Saunders, founder of Results - a 28 year old organization that has lobbied effectively on hunger and poverty issues, they are learning effective techniques to persuasively influence key decision makers.

The first Saturday morning of every month these citizen groups get together at a volunteer's house to listen to a teleconference initiated by Saunders on important climate legislation. Currently the effort is to help carbon tax legislation move to center stage as a more effective way to curb carbon emissions than cap and trade. It could be implemented immediately - as opposed to cap and trade which could take 4-7 years, is easier to administer, and much more transparent. (See www.pricecarbon.org) After hearing the current status of the legislation, getting their questions answered about it, and practicing a 'Laser Talk' - a succinct way of discussing the issue, the citizen groups take action by writing letters to their representatives, to the editor of local newspapers, op ed pieces, or whatever seems most effective. The Group Leader also sets up appointments to meet with their representatives, their staff, or the media. As this becomes a regular practice, a relationship develops between the citizens and their representatives, which can prove to be very beneficial.

If you are like me, and tend to procrastinate, becoming part of a Citizen's Climate Lobby is a good way to get on track. Working with others in a small group sometimes helps one stay committed and is definitely more fun than going it alone. Having easy access to information on important climate legislation and training in how to effectively influence others on the issue is also beneficial. However, this certainly doesn't preclude learning about all sides of an issue, so it is important to find out all one can about an issue - read what the 'adversaries' are saying, and make up your own mind first. CCL just gives one a 'jump-start', which I, for one, seem to need!

If there is anyone out there in Sustainable NE Seattle that would like to join with me in this effort - someone who could provide a quiet meeting space for 5-8 people, with a speaker phone available the first Saturday morning of every month, I would love to hear from you!

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