January gratitude blog: This month’s volunteer accomplishments
By Katie Zakrzewski
Our volunteers are the best around. They work hard and make friends with everyone they meet. We love seeing this hard work pay off, and we love seeing our volunteers make a difference in their communities and around the world. Here are some of the neat things that our volunteers did in January of 2023, as well as some events at the end of 2022!
CCL’s Chicago chapter hosts “New Year, New Possibilities” chapter-building event
CCL’s Chicago chapter held a chapter-building event on Jan. 20 that drew about 30 people, half of whom were new to CCL. The group came together at a Chicago incubator pub with a focus on small-batch and experimental brewing to celebrate their 2022 accomplishments and set the stage for an even greener 2023.
“We wanted to kick off the new year with an in-person event to reconnect with longtime supporters and welcome new ones,” said CCL volunteer Caroline Eichler, who organized the event with volunteers Sean Noonan and Ryan Anderson. “Like our hosts, Pilot Project Brewing, we aim to identify small, high-impact projects across our four focus areas that will deliver strong climate policy in Chicago, Illinois, and beyond.”
CCL Chicago has already activated local action teams that are hard at work partnering with other organizations to build support for Healthy Forests and Building Electrification and Efficiency.
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CCL Louisiana sees success, bipartisanship, in 2022 lobby season
Dozens of volunteers from every corner of the Bayou State held meetings with their members of Congress during the latter months of 2022 and found encouraging signs of growing bipartisanship, paving the way for 2023.
Susan Adams, CCL’s Regional Coordinator for the Third Coast (which includes Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi), shared the significance of a diverse group of volunteers finding hope for growing future bipartisanship in the predominantly red state.
“Louisiana volunteers pulled together to hold a marathon five meetings in December. We found that presenting CCL’s expanded policy agenda really generated excitement with offices, particularly the addition of permitting reform. The fact that we as a national organization were lobbying for the RISEE act, introduced by Louisiana Senator Cassidy, also helped promote our clout as legislative advocates with Louisiana’s best interests in mind,” Susan explains. “Our core group of volunteers participated in all five meetings, taking time out of their busy workdays to help make them a success! I’m so grateful!”
You can see CCL Louisiana’s successful lobby season on their Facebook page below.
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Cleveland CCLer gets op-ed published
CCLer Michael Reiling of the Cleveland, Ohio, chapter of CCL recently had an op-ed published on Cleveland.com about the importance of bipartisan climate solutions in the 118th Congress.
Michael highlights the four new areas of CCL’s policy agenda as something that everyone can embrace.
“Action to mitigate climate change is absolutely necessary to provide quality life for Americans as well as all citizens of the world,” Michael wrote. “We can reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 without returning to a Stone Age of living.”
Click the link below to read Michael’s op-ed.
CCLers table at film festival
CCL’s Las Vegas chapter recently tabled at the Friends of Nevada Wilderness Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.
Volunteers who tabled informed film festival attendees about the value of lobbying with CCL and working with their members of Congress.
CCLers in Texas recruit at Rosenwald event
CCL volunteers in Texas took advantage of a Rosenwald event to reach out to rural populations about climate change. CCLers Rosanne and Berry Friedman explains the festival, honoring Rosenwald schools.
“Julius Rosenwald worked to build a better America. He teamed up with Booker T. Washington to educate young black children in the segregated south, providing matching grants to communities to build schools, educate teachers and fill the gap for America’s well being. This festival was the 100th year celebration of this Rosenwald School on Rosenwald acres owned by one of the ancestors that originally donated the land.”
Several photographers and reporters came up to the CCL table to discuss a carbon price, while an educator from Texas Southern University expressed interest in starting a CCL group at TSU. Rosanne shares that the CCLers were able to sign up 10 people to join CCL.
“When someone comes up to us and says, ‘I’m so glad that you are here,’ that is the best sign that we are working on the path, like Rosenwald who came before us, for America’s well-being,” Rosanne said.
She shares that some of the things that worked for their group.
“The Six Americas poster was an instant ice breaker and a way to start a conversation. The kids liked the green footprint rubber stamps on index cards. People were glad to get a pencil with citizenclimatelobby.org printed on it at once a present and a card. The T-shirts were identifiers of our group and a lot of fun.”
Sierra Sun interviews CCL volunteer
The Sierra Sun recently interviewed CCL volunteer Sam Ruderman in their monthly climate profile, which spotlights environmentalists in the community. Sam has six years of experience in the environmental field, and uses his experience in his chapter of CCL. In the interview, Sam discusses how he got involved in CCL, and some of the work he’s done as a volunteer.
“I attended my first meeting and was equally impressed by the dedication, intelligence, and thoroughness of the chapter leaders and members,” Sam recalls. “It was inspiring and refreshing, and I wanted to contribute to the organization’s progressive efforts to influence change.”
No tricks, only treats: CCLers participate in Halloween parade
When Halloween rolled around, CCLers in Delaware didn’t hesitate to have some fun!
Delaware CCLers attended local Halloween parades and dressed up as solar panels and wind turbines. Volunteers then tabled at a trick or treat event, giving out candy to young future environmentalists and flyers to the adults.
CCLers connect with conservatives at hunting and fishing event
In South Carolina this past September, CCLers tabled at the National Hunting and Fishing Day event, which attracted a largely conservative crowd.
“South Carolina is a very conservative state. We’re always thinking about how to welcome more conservatives into our chapters and encourage them to come to lobby meetings,” said Charlotte Ward, CCL State and Local Media Coordinator who also volunteers as a group co-leader for the Greenville chapter.
Charlotte, accompanied by her chapter co-lead Constantine Khripin, volunteer Lauraleigh Bush, and fellow chapter members John Beckerle and Bill Harclerode, set up a table at the event with a posterboard.
The posterboard depicted the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication study graph of belief and concern regarding climate change. Lauraleigh noted that most participants seemed to be concerned about climate change.
“Cautious was the most common response, but the overall trend was that people were concerned about climate change,” she says. “So the first three dots on the chart got the most pins, which I felt was really encouraging.”
Maine clergy endorse carbon price
An opinion piece was recently published in Maine’s Portland Press Herald in which several clergy members of multiple denominations endorse a carbon price.
Bishop Thomas Brown is the 10th and current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. Monsignor Charles Murphy serves in the Catholic Diocese of Maine and formerly served as dean and rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Archdeacon John Chryssavgis lives in Maine and is theological adviser to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. All three co-wrote the op-ed from the Portland Press Herald.
“As people of faith, we recognize our responsibility to care for God’s creation and tο preserve the sacred gift of its natural resources. As Mainers, we recognize that we live in the sole state with both senators (Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins) on the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. In short, we have both urgency and agency,” the trio wrote. “The threat of accelerating climate change requires bold and effective climate policies to sustain the biodiversity of our planet and reduce the carbon emissions released into our atmosphere. At stake is human health and global prosperity, the flourishing of life and prevention of suffering.”
CCL volunteers in Maine reached out to the clergy members and asked for their endorsement. You can read the full letter below.
Quintet uses music to tackle climate anxiety, grief
(Photo courtesy of Courtney Flatt, Northwest News Network)
Members of the Tri-Cities chapter of CCL in Washington organized a concert to help attendees process emotions related to climate anxiety and grief. The concert brought in a packed house.
Nelda Swiggett, a musician and the leader of a jazz quintet, shares that their concerts about climate change tours through churches in the area. The idea came to Swiggett after she visited Alaska and noticed the effects of climate change.
Her concert, titled “The Alaska Suite,” features nine pieces named after climate effects, such as “Melting,” “Burning,” and “Worry.” Before each piece performance, Swiggett reads a brief introduction about climate change in Alaska, and how some of the same effects can be seen in Washington.
Her hour-and-a-half-long concert also includes poetry and narrations of the things that she saw throughout her trip.
CCLer Lora Rathbone explained how art can reach audiences that might not be as likely to talk about climate change.
“A lot of social science shows that people not only respond more to emotion, but it’s got to be personal somehow to them, experienced firsthand, like we do here, the increasing temperatures in the summer and other strange weather events,” Rathbone said.
You can read the full story in the link below.
Pullman CCL finds residents concerned about climate
The Pullman chapter of CCL has been busy collecting data over the last few months about concern in their community about climate change.
The chapter received more than 300 responses to a survey about the impacts of climate change in their community.
CCLer Kynan Witters Hicks said that the Pullman chapter created the survey to better understand public knowledge surrounding the climate, gauge concern for potential climate impacts, and to better understand citizen willingness to support political action. The survey was completed in the fall of 2021 and included around 415 respondents.
The chapter also collected data on possible clean energy solutions from citizens before submitting the results to the Pullman City Council.
You can read the full story in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News below.
Our volunteers move the needle on so many issues by going out in their communities and working with others. Never doubt the impact that you have as a CCL volunteer!