Day 10: Write, Call or Tweet Your Elected Representatives
Call on our leaders in order to speed up change
Today’s action urges others to act on climate—our leaders. I’ve included links to help you find US representatives (and Canadian MPs), and templates you can edit for writing, calling and tweeting them.
Politicians rarely hear from their constituents. So when they do, they pay attention and they track the number of messages they receive on various topics. Just a small number of voters urging them to support a bold climate bill might be the motivation that pushes them from teetering on the edge of the undecided column over into the yes column.
Find their contact information
First, you’ll need to look up your representatives’ contact information, which should include official social media accounts. In the US, you have two senators and one congress member.
In the US:
Find your member of congress here. After entering your zip code, if more than one member comes up—because your area overlaps two districts—you’ll see a field for entering your address. Do that and find your rep.
If you live in Canada, find your MP’s contact information here. You’ll have to poke around a bit on Twitter to find your MP there.
Just as you don’t need to be a scientist to talk about climate change, you don’t need to be a policy expert in order to write your reps. The important thing is they hear from you.
You might write an email or an actual written physical letter with an envelope and stamp. Whichever medium you choose, be polite and diplomatic. The more individual your letter, the better.
If you don’t know where to start, flesh out the following four Ws:
Who and where. Introduce yourself, where you live and any important identities (student, union member, teacher, parent, senior, nurse, farmer, small business owner and so on). “I live in [YOUR CITY] and am a constituent and [IDENTITY IF APPLICABLE].”
Why. Explain the concern that prompted you to write. Make it personal if possible. “I am alarmed by the quickly closing window of opportunity to address the climate crisis. [INSERT PERSONAL STORY].”
Perhaps you and your family were affected last year by wildfires, the Pacific-Northwest heat dome, hurricanes or tornadoes. Or you may simply worry about your children’s future if we fail to take bold climate action. Stories from the heart have more of an impact than impersonal form letters. Keep your story concise however. A paragraph should do.
What. This is your demand. Ask the representative to support climate legislation. Mention specific bills if possible. “I urge you to support the End Polluter Welfare Act of 2021 to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuel companies, the Clean Energy for America Act, which provides tax incentives for increased investment in clean energy, and the Clean Energy Standard Bill to decarbonize the entire grid by 2035. These bills will accelerate a just transition to clean energy while protecting our most vulnerable communities and providing millions of good jobs.”
Find other climate bills here. You’ll have to do a bit of research to determine which ones to support.
Conclusion. Sign your email or letter. “Thank you for your time. Sincerely, [NAME].”
In addition to your congressperson and senator, you could also write to city council members and governors about something affecting your city or state. For more letter writing tips and motivation, listen to this Mothers of Invention podcast, “Dear Ruler: Letter Writing Tips for Exasperated Voters.”
You can use the prompts above to write a script for a phone call to your reps. Once you have your script in hand, dial the phone number and read the script if ad-libbing makes you nervous. Hang up. Repeat with the next phone number.
If you call after hours and leave a message, that still counts! If you can’t leave a message (the inbox may be full, for example), try again during office hours, weekdays between 9am and 5:30pm ET.
Or post a comment on your representatives’ Facebook or Instagram pages.
What to include in your post:
Who. Say that you’re a constituent and include any important identities as with the letter writing. (You may not have enough characters for a detailed “where.”)
Why. Explain what prompted you to tweet and make it personal—as much as a short tweet permits!
What. Make a direct, specific ask. “@[twitter handle], there was no holiday recess for the climate crisis. [PERSONALIZE HERE.] Please make climate a priority and take bold action. The window of opportunity is closing.”
Sample tweet. Here’s one of my tweets: “@SenFeinstein I’m a constituent and small business owner in CA. There was no holiday recess for the climate crisis or the #californiadrought worsened by it. Please prioritize the climate and take bold action. The window of opportunity is closing.” Feel free to copy this tweet or to use it as a template for yours.
Optional graphic. Add some kind of graphic if desired. Send a selfie of yourself holding a sign, for example.
For more letter-writing opportunities and updates on climate policy, if you haven’t yet, join a climate-focused organization (see Day 2’s action).
Make a party of your action!
If you feel a bit intimidated to make the call—or to write or tweet—a group action can help. Organize a get-together over Zoom with your friends, bring a drink and take these actions together. You’ll amplify the message, socialize and have fun while doing something productive and meaningful.
How did today’s action go? Did you contact your reps? If you called, did you speak with a person? Please let us know how it went.