By Mike Kiernan and Paul Thompson
RPCVs concerned about the impact of climate change have an excellent opportunity to express their views between now and election day.
The mainstream media is focusing on climate change as a major factor in the extreme weather events we are seeing across the United States, and this ongoing news coverage provides us an opportunity to write short letters to our local newspapers expressing the need for politicians running for Congress to declare their positions on proposed climate change solutions in advance of the November 3 elections. Below is a short sample letter that might be helpful.
In writing your letter, there are two important rules:
- Keep your letter short – no more than 250 words -- and
- Cite a recent headline that appears in your local paper that mentions a recent event tied to climate change – such as the wildfires on the west coast or a recent hurricane along the Gulf Coast or Florida.
If you follow these two rules, your letter has a much greater chance of getting published.
To find out how to send a letter to your local paper, just Google: The name of your local paper AND "How to Submit a Letter" and you will get a link to the appropriate instructions. Make sure you include your name, phone number and home address in sending your letter. If you have problems, contact Mike Kiernan, our media consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can help.
Why is this important? Because with so many major issues at stake in this election, it is easy to overlook the importance of climate change as the next major existential threat facing the planet.
Some of you may already have submitted op-eds and letters on climate change and have been disappointed with the results. We encourage you to try one more time, keeping these two things in mind:
First, editorial boards don't hold it against you if you have written a previous letter that did not get published, provided you keep your new letter short and are able to cite a more recent story on the topic in the paper.
Second, even if many of these letters do not get published, they help demonstrate to editorial boards across the country that people in their own communities are concerned about climate change.
We also encourage you to mention that you are a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who has long recognized the impact of climate change on the poorest countries of the world. If you would like additional assistance, please contact our media consultant, Mike Kiernan, at email@example.com. Mike stands ready to help.
Please let us know when the letter is published! RPCV4EA can help amplify your Letter to the Editor on social media, and share it with your Members of Congress.
Sample Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
RE: Headline of news article mentioning recent weather event, with date and page where story appeared. (Such as this example: “Climate change behind wildfires, experts say,” Sept 22, page 1)
As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, who served in (country) in (years served), I have long worried about the impact of climate change on the poorest of the poor in my country of service and around the world. But this summer I have become just as concerned about the impact of climate change on my own family members and friends throughout the United States.
We see the impact of climate change everywhere: record heat waves in many states this summer, huge wildfires on the west coast, a seemingly endless series of powerful hurricanes battering the Gulf Coast, Florida and the east coast. Experts tell us that the rise in sea-levels is accelerating and that there’s little chance that the excessive heat, wild fires and extreme weather will correct themselves on their own. .
As we get closer to the Nov. 3 elections, candidates running for Congress need to recognize climate change as a very real threat to our security and way of life. We need to deal with climate change immediately and look for solutions that are practical and straightforward.
The bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) (add link https://citizensclimatelobby.org/energy-innovation-and-carbon-dividend-act/), legislation supported by Citizens’ Climate Lobby and many members of Congress, would create a fee based on burning carbon based fuels. This fee, collected from the fossil fuel industry, would be distributed to American families equally via a monthly dividend. It’s a reasonable approach that is good for families, the economy, and the environment. Economists feel that such a fee is the fastest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels.
Raising the price of fossil fuels while returning the funds raised to American families will lower fossil-fuel consumption thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, clean the air, boost the economy, and create clean-energy jobs. Let’s get serious about climate change before it’s too late.