Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Weinstein

(Linda Weinstein stands with Simeon Bannister, the new CEO of the Rochester Community Foundation. He has expressed an interest in increased focus on climate issues.) Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Weinstein; volunteer spotlight; price on carbon

(Linda Weinstein stands with Simeon Banister, the new CEO of the Rochester Community Foundation. He has expressed an interest in an increased focus on climate issues.)

Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Weinstein

By Katie Zakrzewski

Age is just a number, and senior citizen CCL volunteer Linda Weinstein of Rochester, New York is proof. After moving to a senior living facility, Linda was shocked at how little senior citizens were paying attention to climate change — so she decided to do something about it. 

How did you get involved in the climate movement?

I was born in Oswego, NY, a small town on the Eastern shore of Lake Ontario.  That was a well-known “snow belt,” so I learned about weather early on. My husband and I lived most of our married life in Rochester, NY, having three children and demanding careers. We sailed and hiked and always thought those natural sites would remain for all of us. In 2015, I went to a Sierra Club presentation by James Hansen about climate disruption. I was horrified. In spite of my knowledge of community issues as the CEO of the Community Foundation, Hansen’s message startled me. During the Q&A, he mentioned Citizens’ Climate Lobby as a center for activism. 

How did you get involved with CCL?

In 2015, the local CCL chapter, headed by still-leader Sarah Mittiga, met close by, so I joined efforts there. Another member and I teamed up to contact businesses and city and town governments in order to collect endorsements for a climate fee and dividend, or at least some action. Those endorsements, plus individually signed post cards, were presented on a regular basis to our Congressional representatives. We met with some successes but also a lot of skepticism. It wasn’t all that easy, but in the following four years I was able to secure endorsements from the Town of Pittsford and several local businesses, working primarily with another CCL member, Rob Levine. We made repeated visits to our congressional representatives’ offices and raised awareness of the topic. I became obsessed with getting information to my neighbors and friends, my book club, and a women’s club to which I belonged. 

What other projects have you worked on in CCL?

In 2019, I moved to the Boston area where I live in a senior retirement community filled with well-educated residents. I thought it would be relatively easy to engage retired residents in efforts to lobby for climate legislation. I was amazed at how little attention was paid to the topic. Working with like-minded residents, I have built a corps of individuals who regularly call or email our national and state legislatures. CCL’s information and calls to action have been priceless in that effort. Several Boston area CCL members have come to speak to residents about the basics of climate change. As COVID has receded, we have had a monthly afternoon lecture about topics related to climate issues. In October, I am restarting a one hour monthly in-house resident-based discussion group. All these efforts have a goal of creating a group of citizen activists. Three years and many presentations, meetings, and emails later, we now have a corps of individuals who respond to messages to contact our legislators.

What motivates you?

Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Weinstein; Linda holds her infant great grandson, whom she considers her greatest motivation; volunteer spotlight; price on carbon

My great grandson is my greatest motivation. 

Outside of my family, Citizens’ Climate Lobby has been and continues to be a source of useful information and inspiration.

Katie Zakrzewski, CCL Communications Coordinator, is an avid reader, writer and policy wonk. With published pieces, as well as podcast and radio appearances spanning the country, Zakrzewski looks forward to using her talents to create a healthier planet of tomorrow.