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19 August 2008 @ 11:53 am
Contacting Elected Officials  
Legal action is crucial to guaranteeing action against global warming. If local, state, and national officials do not have enough pressure from constituents to battle climate change, however, little will be done. We must let them know that climate change is a priority and about the methods that can be employed to ensure clean energy. With enough demand from the public, lawmakers will be more prone to creating laws to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and turn over to other sources of renewable energy.

For a list of your elected officials, please click here. Try to contact as many of your officials as possible. This could include both President Bush and Vice President Cheney, your U.S. senators, your U.S. representatives, your state governors, your state legislators, and your mayor. To make it easier, use the following tips below the cut or click here for the PDF version.

Create a default letter: Creating a default letter that you can customize depending on the official saves you time while still getting the message across. Emphasize the harmful effects of global warming and the importance of solving the climate crisis now rather than later.
Be brief, but specific: Let's be frank - representatives have numerous letters and e-mails to read through daily, so a five page e-mail outlining your plan for battling climate change is probably not the most effective way to deliver your point. Be brief when describing global warming in general - they probably know enough about that already. Be specific when suggesting solutions or legislation to combating the crisis. If all you ask is that your representative help fight global warming, they won't know where to start or what measures to take.
Write appropriately according to the representative: While the general information about global warming can apply to any representative, the solutions you suggest will most likely vary according to whom the recipient is. If you are writing to President Bush and Vice President Cheney, you will most likely want to emphasize the alternate renewable energy sources and legislation that can be put in place to enforce that clean energy is used, because this is a nationwide task. Ideas for legislation would be sent to your senators, representatives, and legislators, while smaller, local ideas would best be sent to your mayor or governor.
Be personal and friendly: Being hostile and angry clearly will not send the correct message. To come up with solutions, we must be willing to work with our elected officials to create solutions. Make sure your tone is friendly through your letter or e-mail, but be firm, as well - you are still proposing solutions and still demanding action. Don't forget to be personal, as well - by mentioning that you are a concerned constituent looking to better your nation, you send a better message.

Solutions you can include in your letter:
Local ideas include requiring new buildings to invest energy saving appliances, using green technologies in new buildings, fixing sidewalks (or implementing them, if none exist) so that bikes can be used, expanding public transportation, encouraging citizens to invest in energy efficient appliances, promoting recycling, and creating awareness about being less wasteful.
Ideas that revolve around legislation will have to be more thought out. Include proposals for federal laws on the types of appliances and technology used to create new workplaces and other buildings. Insist upon federal laws requiring that utility companies offer options for green power, and create awareness about this option to constituents. Suggest federal grants to companies that are the source of renewable energy. Tell them to provide more money to wind farms, geothermal power plants, and solar thermal power plants so that their numbers can rise and more energy is created. Tell them to require automobile companies to increase mileage on their vehicles and invest in alternate technologies.

By being specific, your representatives can have something to work with and introduce to fellow lawmakers. They can pick certain aspects to focus on first, and then move on to others. If you feel that a letter does not fully encompass all that you have to say, try scheduling an appointment with your official.

Remember that spreading the message does not have to be limited to your elected officials. You can contact your school officials, company leaders, religious leaders, and other officials, as well, to spread awareness about this issue.