With Gratitude #5: A CCL blog series
By Katie Zakrzewski
As the holiday season draws near, this is a great time to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished this year, and everything that we have to be thankful for. Fortunately, we have a lot to be thankful for, especially this year. One of the best ways to do that is to revisit all of the neat things that our volunteers have been up to over the course of the year.
Through the end of the year, CCL will be spotlighting some of our favorite volunteer efforts from 2022 as we look back on all of the hard work that allowed us to be where we are today, as well as the financial support that helped mobilize our volunteers to do incredible things. We couldn’t have done it without you.
In this blog, you’ll read about volunteers who pave the way in their state, who organize floats in local parades, who write op-eds to their local papers, who look for dinosaur fossils, and plenty more examples of CCLers creating the political will for a liveable world!
Arkansas is ready to recruit
Arkansas CCL State Coordinators Jan Schaper and Jean Larson completed an in-depth leadership program this year. The Empowerment Partnership Program is a once-a-week, six-month program led by another CCL volunteer, Jean Ritok. This program taught Jan and Jean and other attendees the importance of reframing their mindsets in order to successfully tackle their goals.
Now that they’ve graduated from the Empowerment Partnership Program, Jan and Jean have set out with a toolbox of new skills and a fresh new mindset. The two are ready to approach climate advocacy in Arkansas with new methods of strategizing and executing climate solutions.
“My first venture was to make our Arkansas members of Congress strong climate advocates,” Jean says. “And now I’m trying to meet them and connect their conservative values with climate change. It’s been a really interesting process.”
Read Jan and Jean’s full story here.
Thankful for LGBTQ+ environmentalists
Pride month is a time to celebrate all of our LGBTQ+ climate advocates in CCL and the environmental movement. While there are many queer climate advocates that you should learn more about outside CCL, we also want to recognize one of CCL’s own action teams: the LGBTQIA+ and Allies OUTreach action team.
Callum Cintron has helped spearhead the inclusion of more queer environmentalists into CCL’s climate advocacy movement. They are a student at Oregon State University who is passionate about social change and climate change mitigation. Striving to make the environmental movement inclusive for people of all communities, their work helps make CCL a welcoming place for all.
The LGBTQIA+ and Allies OUTreach action team has had a plethora of queer guest speakers such as comedian Sammie James, founder of 500 Queer Scientists Dr. Lauren Esposito, queer cartoonist Maia Kobabe, and author Syan Rose.
“My work on both teams includes making CCL a more comfortable and welcoming place for people of communities that have not been historically included in the environmental movement,” Callum shares. One project they have successfully worked on was the inclusion of the gender-neutral salutation “Mx.” when contacting Congress.
MI volunteers organize float in July 4 parade
CCL volunteers from the Ann Arbor, Michigan, chapter found a way to enjoy a Fourth of July parade and do some creative grassroots outreach, too. Ann Arbor group leader Ginny Rogers shares more details about the chapter’s parade participation.
“The float was the brainchild of one of our volunteers, Mary Garton.” Ginny says the group wanted “to convey that we’re just ordinary people. I thought it was a great idea, so we decided to just sign up for the parade and get people motivated to join.”
Another chapter member, Clark McCall, also volunteers with Common Cycle, a volunteer-based bicycle repair co-op. Clark arranged for the chapter to borrow one of Common Cycle’s long bike trailers. Mary decided to have two people on the float, one pretending to be a citizen lobbyist, and one pretending to be a member of Congress.
Lila Fetter, a high schooler in the Ann Arbor chapter, played the volunteer, and Ginny played the Member of Congress. Mary pulled the float with her e-bike.
“We ended up with a great turnout of volunteers who carried signs, banners, a wind turbine and solar panel, and passed out flyers,” Ginny says. “We received lots of cheers along the way with Mary circling our group of marchers for the whole route, so we figured at the very least, we made an impression!”
Express-News editorial on SCOTUS decision
The San Antonio Express-News published an editorial focused on the Supreme Court ruling regarding the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. In this editorial, the San Antonio Express-News points out the work that Congress has put forward so far on addressing climate, before turning to address climate issues in San Antonio.
“San Antonio is warming — an obvious reality underscored by this particularly searing spring and summer.”
The Express-News emphasized the effect that extreme heat has already played on electricity bills, as well as the droughts that threaten the high water supply. The publication gives a nod to CCL as well.
“And at the federal level, Congress should approve a fee-and-dividend program, as the Citizens’ Climate Lobby has proposed,” the editorial reads. CCL volunteers in the San Antonio area helped to generate this editorial by meeting with the editorial board.
Young CCLers are making their voices heard
Young CCLers have been making sure their voices are heard in local media.
Cash Mendenhall, a junior at West High School in Utah and an intern for the Salt Lake City chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, got an op-ed published in which he highlighted climate change as the greatest challenge that his generation is facing.
“The uniquely gorgeous landscape that fosters our state’s draw, both economically and for new Utahns, is under sustained threat from the unmitigated onset of climate change,” Cash writes in the Deseret News. “The root cause of the crisis is still unresolved. But of these policy solutions, a carbon fee and dividend would be uniquely effective: by setting a tax on mass carbon emissions at the site of their production and then distributing the revenue from that tax back in a monthly dividend to all Americans.”
Noah Guthrie, an undergraduate at Berry College and a member of the Middle Tennessee chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, also voiced his support for carbon border adjustment mechanisms in an op-ed for The Tennessean.
“A CBAM would set an import tariff on certain internationally traded goods — carbon-intensive products like steel, paper, cement and fossil fuels,” Noah writes. “CBAM is one example of an initiative that coincides with the environmental values of both conservatives and liberals in America, providing common ground for swift and effective action for the welfare of our economy and the planet.”
Climate and dinos
Ealier this year, CCL’s San Antonio Chapter and neighboring chapters, got to accompany retired geologist Dr. Stuart Birnbaum on a dinosaur outing. The group looked at dinosaur footprints and took along tools to collect fossils. The group went out to lunch afterwards, and reflected on the changing climate over time, and the climate’s impact on geology and paleontology.
CCL Cincinnati breakfast with former Congressmen
Earlier this year, the Cincinnati chapter of CCL had breakfast with Bob Inglis and Dan Lipinski to discuss making climate a bridge issue instead of a wedge issue. Ohio’s State Chair Peg Fischer and Cincinnati Group Leader Kelly Patterson helped organize the event.
Citizens’ Climate is rolling up our sleeves again: ready to advocate for the policies needed to meet—and even exceed—the goals set in the Paris Accord. But we need your support to be successful. We help our volunteers turn their climate alarm into climate action. Our growing network of 210,000+ citizen lobbyists represents a powerful force elevating climate change as a top policy priority for both Democrats and Republicans.
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