Volunteer Spotlight: Pauline Banducci
By Katie Zakrzewski
For this month’s volunteer spotlight, CCL highlights the volunteer efforts of Pauline Banducci. Pauline is a volunteer with the Massachusetts Berkshire chapter of CCL, and lives in Monterey, Massachusetts. Pauline joined the Print Media Action Team in March of 2020. A former Peace Corps member who served in the Philippine Islands, Pauline devoted herself to stopping climate change after returning to her place of service and seeing the climate changed environment. She has worked to use Twitter and precise timing to maximize the views of her tweets, and to make sure that prominent Twitter users will see her message.
Why did you get involved in the climate movement, and why did you choose CCL?
I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippine Islands, and 17 years after leaving, returned with my daughter to visit my host family. She was so disappointed, because the beautiful coral I had raved about was colorless — the hard coral was bleached, the soft coral completely absent. Climate change. Amazingly, my sister in Canada told me about CCL. Inspired by Uli Nagel, our chapter co-leader, who traveled 500 miles in Florida on an electrically assisted tricycle talking about the climate, I joined. My grandson keeps me motivated.
What are some projects that you’ve been working on as a volunteer?
Our Berkshire chapter was approached by the Williams College Women’s Soccer Team interested in doing a project to fulfill hours for community service. Our chapter recommended an upcoming En-ROADS Zoom session. Afterwards, I asked if they’d be willing to give quotes about their climate concerns, carbon pricing, and their photos. With the help of the CCL template on Community, I created digital postcards of each woman. I included their photo, a quote, their hometown and state. When CCL began pushing carbon pricing to the Senate, I tweeted the postcards to each player’s member of Congress and, if possible, their CCL chapter, since many of the women were from different states. All of this is available on Community. I posted these in each Congressional timezone at the times I believed that zone would be most likely to see it.
Who are you reaching with your social media efforts?
I’m glad when environmentalists see my messages but want to reach people who don’t see this content as often. For me it’s not about the number of followers but the variety. I often tweet to conservative open-minded folks who have a big following. When they retweet something, it can get a conversation started.
Tell us more about your other outreach effort involving op-eds.
I was able to get two op-eds written by young women of color placed in the conservative-leaning Springfield Republican. After approaching the newspaper for nearly two years, with no luck, the editor finally responded with a request for op-eds written by young people. They gave us four days! The print copy covered a half-page on two separate Sundays, and included photos of the young women. The op-eds had an impact on the local community and, we hope, our Congressman.
What did this process teach you about working with the media in this capacity?
Editors and reporters are always short-staffed and overwhelmed. My attitude towards the media is unfailingly polite, patient and understanding. A tip I received from a reporter at the LA Times: “Send emails between 7 and 8 a.m. on Monday, so your email is high up in the inbox before their deadlines begin on Tuesday.” I have found, if you can “jump” for the media when they do call, they remember this and call again. Relationships with media take time, their plate is full, and I want to be respectful of this. My focus is to make their job easier.
What are some of your goals moving forward?
Currently a small group of us, led by our state coordinator, Gary Rucinski, is in the process of scheduling an editorial board meeting with a major newspaper, which we hope will include a supportive member of Congress. I am also pitching Katharine Hayhoe’s book to our local tri-state NPR station, another way to get CCL mentioned.