Environmental Activism: Step by Step
Updated: Jul 19, 2022
I am super happy the Delaware County Daily Times published my first letter to the editor yesterday. Early in my career I worked for a weekly newspaper in Maryland, but somehow this small success makes me feel like I've won a prize. I did have some help.
As the scientific data mounts and climate events become more dangerous, I have a growing sense of urgency. Even though, I've marched in the past, signed petitions, and probably made annoying calls to your house if you live in my voting district, I want to do more.
My previous activism experiences were with large national organizations, and I learned it's easy to ignore "urgent" emails if they line one's inbox on the daily—especially when they're coming from a faceless individual or, even worse, a bot.
I'm a joiner by nature, so I've signed on with two smaller groups in an effort to have more person-to-person contact, and to make my actions somewhat systematic.
Noel Smyth, the lead organizer for the Delaware County chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby helped me understand the elements of writing a successful letter to the editor. He also explained that publishing in local newspaper is particularly useful because these are read by our local leaders. And these are the people we want to influence. On the CCL webpage the group describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to creating the political will for a livable world. They have many local chapters around the country and a national organization based in Coronado, CA.
The PA Climate Convergence has also welcomed me into its fold. This group's focus is to bring advocates and families together from around the state for a "convergence" to demand climate action from our representatives in Harrisburg, the state capitol. Plans are underway for a second convergence tentatively scheduled for early June of 2023. Our state legislators are notoriously fossil-fuel friendly, so I will be reaching out to the group's many partners to increase participation. The more people who show up, the more the legislators will feel the heat.
I have about thirty days under my belt with both of these groups, and I've had real conversations, which have made me feel I'm a part of something. To me the letter to the editor represents a tangible, first step.
So if you want to get active, and you don't want to feel like you're shouting down a well, consider examining your passions, and then signing on with a local group. And of course, if CCL or PA Climate Convergence seem a good fit, come on in!
Do you have any activist adventures? Please tell us about them!
Letter to the editor:
PUBLISHED: July 14, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. | UPDATED: July 14, 2022 at 12:02 p.m.
The Delaware County Times published an article on Tuesday, July 12, outlining Pennsylvania’s legal challenges over the implementation of a state carbon-pricing plan. Supporters of the fossil-fuel industry filed suits to stop the program, which would require power plants to purchase carbon credits for every ton of carbon emissions.
This carbon-pricing plan came out of the Wolf administration’s decision in April to sign on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI, along with 10 surrounding states and is part of an effort to limit carbon emissions, which fulfills the governor’s 2019 promise to combat global warming.
The intensity and frequency of climate events, such as area flooding, point to the urgent need to change the way our communities produce and consume power. Supporters of the fossil fuel industry who seek the right to continue polluting in the old way should instead take a longer view.
Fossil-fuel advocates are correct that the disruption of standard practices by outdated power companies will cause a degree of economic pain in the short term, but our future growth lies in the development of sustainable energy.
According to the DEP, “Joining RGGI will lower Pennsylvania’s CO2 emissions by between 97 and 225 million tons by 2030.” In addition, the revenues collected through this program would accelerate sustainable job growth in the energy sector. We must speak to our neighbors, community leaders, and elected representatives.
Charging polluters for carbon emissions is an important step toward safeguarding our community for future generations.
—Dawn Kane, Wynnewood