Environmental Action Steps
Do you want to live in a community that supports a clean and sustainable environment? Then you need to become active in local politics. Unless we all push back hard on the current political decisions, we will not be able to save this planet, or our own community from serious and devastating effects. Support a community that has increased walkability, mass transit, and energy efficient policies for public buildings. Use your farmer’s market for grocery shopping. You will not only obtain fresher food and support the local economy, you will reduce your community’s reliance on the transportation used to ship foods into our state. Review the list of ideas below, and add some of your own.
Attend local government meetings.
Learn about state laws impacting environmental policies.
Read Indivisible: A Practical Guide to Resistance.
Watch for notices of potentially polluting projects.
Work to reduce the population of our planet.
Work to save environmental laws.
Rally neighbors and friends to participate.
Dig for dirt! See who is releasing toxic chemicals or is violating regulations.
Pressure decision makers (zoning board, city council, state or national environmental departments).
Eat a low carbon diet.
Telecommute to work.
Limit use of fossil fuels.
Consider installing solar panels.
Boycott companies owned by corporations denying climate change, or those funding politicians who deny climate change.
Divest from fossil fuel companies or those contributing to deforestation.
Attend upcoming events, such as the Science March and the People’s Climate March.
Join environmental groups that have good ratings from Charity Navigator.
Visit natural resources, Nature Conservancy Sites, and National Parks.
Take the Climate Change Pledge (Friends of Earth).
Check accuracy of news and stick with credible news sources. You can fact check with snopes.com, fact check.org, scorecard.lcv.org
Use LED lighting.
Set your thermostat 20 warmer in the summer and 20 cooler in the winter.
Use a timer thermostat.
Dispose of hazardous waste properly.
Contact your utility company to audit your home.
Recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and metal.
Recycle electronics, lighting, ink cartridges.
Buy recycled products.
Purchase local goods.
Use electronic documents, banking, etc.
Encourage car pooling.
Encourage your workplace to join the Bi-state Region Clean Air Partnership.
Visits, Calls, and Letters
Questions to ask politicians:
“What are our options for cleaner transportation?”
“Can we handle extreme weather?”
“What are we doing to encourage energy efficiency?”
“Do we have enough access to locally grown food?”
“Are we working to protect every resident from pollutants?”
“Where do you stand on the Clean Air Act?”
The local MoveOn group makes visits to local Iowa Senate offices each Tuesday. You can just drop in or call for an appointment. You will generally speak to one of the Congressional assistants, but they will communicate your concerns to the federal office. Multiple visits are fine; let them get to know you.
You can reach your federal senators and representatives at either their Washington or local offices. State law makers are in your capital city, but also have local offices. They work for you, so don’t be shy about calling, and don’t think you shouldn’t call your congressperson because you know they already support your cause. Their staff keeps track of phone calls, and the squeaky wheel usually gets the grease. Know your talking points and keep it short. Be polite and give your identifying information: name, address, phone, zip code.
If you send post cards they are not held up being checked for sabotage and will go directly to your representative or senator. If you buy them from the Post Office they are cheap ($.34) and already stamped. Keep to one point per card and send several each week.
Letters to the Editor
Usually you need to submit a letter of under 200 words and provide your name and address for confirmation. These are important to reach a wide public audience and your elected officials with the same effort. You can respond to an article from the paper, in which case you want to cite the original story by name, date and author. Be sure to follow the paper’s directions for length of the article (usually less than 200 words). Be timely and keep your letter focused and interesting. Feel free to refer to the legislator or corporation you are trying to influence by name.