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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor Writing Group

Our Letters to the Editor Writing Group is a time for RPCVs to come together and write letters for publication to draw attention to environmental and climate problems. We begin the meeting with a talk by a guest speaker, then we talk together briefly about how we want to structure our letters. The majority of the time will be spent writing and revising our letters. Working together we can provide the feedback and support that is essential to a quality piece of writing.

 

We meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 8 pm ET \ 5 pm PT.

Here’s the Zoom link for our Tuesday office hours:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89264363308

 

Please feel free to reach out to Dylan Hinson, climate.dylan@gmail.com, with any questions about the Letters to The Editor events. These techniques can be used for any topic that you feel passionately about. Peace Corps funding and support? Refugee and immigration challenges? Climate change and environment? Speak out!

Recent Events

 

 

Writing Letters to the Editor that Actually Get Published - July 27, 2021

 

Rosemary O'Hara, retired editorial page editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (and before that from several other newspapers), offers guidance on how to improve your chances to get published including:

  • How to approach an LTE
  • How to write an LTE
  • What it's like to be on the receiving end of an LTE

 

 

The Power of the Peace Corps Brand - May 11, 2021

 

Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota addresses the question: How do you see the unique voice that returned Peace Corps volunteers bring to this issue [of climate change], especially in a letter to the editor and Congressional meetings? at the RPCV4EA National Launch Call

 

Published LTEs

Moving Forward, for the Planet, by Kate Schachter - The New York Times

Climate Crisis: Heat Inequality, by Martha McAlister - The Seattle Times


Sample Letter to the Editor

From Mike Kiernan and Paul Thompson's article, Timing is Excellent to Write a Letter to the Editor on Climate Change

 

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.

Tips for Writing and Submitting an Op-Ed

  1. Write us at advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org to let us know which paper you will submit to, so we don’t have multiple people submitting to the same newspaper.
  2. Google the name of the newspaper you want to submit to and the phrase “op-ed submission” (e.g. “Baltimore Sun op-ed submission”) to find out how many words are allowed, how they want it submitted (e.g. pasted into an email, pasted into a form on their website), do they want your address, phone number, and email at the end, and whether they require an exclusive.
  3. If they require an exclusive, that the op-ed be submitted to their newspaper only, consider 1) writing the op-ed more completely with your own words, not using a template or 2) submitting to a different newspaper, one that doesn’t require an exclusive.
  4. Begin completing the op-ed by drafting your experiences from the Peace Corps with an eye to not exceeding the word count allowed by your newspaper.
  5. Find the contact information for the op-ed editor. Find the name and phone number of the op-ed editor by Googling the name of the paper and the phrase “op-ed editor” or “editorial page editor” (e.g. Baltimore Sun op-ed editor) or by calling the newspaper and asking for their name.
  6. Call the op-ed editor. Let them know your name, that you live in the community and when and where you served in the Peace Corps. Ask if they have a moment to talk. If they do, let them know that you would like to submit an op-ed. Provide background on your op-ed's topic and the stance you will be taking. [Then listen to what they have to say.]
  7. Attend our LTE "office hours" to hear stories of how it is going, brainstorm and offer edits to the personal stories you’re adding to your op-ed and role-play calls to op-ed editors.

Calendar of Events

Find all Events here.

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