Joe’s letter from the COP23 climate talks

Joe Robertson at COP23

CCL Global Strategy Director Joe Robertson (middle)

Joe’s letter from the COP23 climate talks

Joe Robertson, CCL’s Global Strategy Director, was in Bonn, Germany for latest UN climate talks while most of the rest of the staff were in Washington, D.C. for Congressional Education Day. Joe wrote a moving letter to CCLers back home, reflecting on CCL’s 10 years and what lies ahead.

Dear Marshall, Mark, and the rest of our tireless, committed CCL family,

I am writing to you from Bonn, Germany, where we are working to bring the CCL spirit of enthusiastic, genuine, good-faith engagement to the deliberations of 195 countries.

I am here because of what all of you do.

More and more, people say they know about us, have met our volunteers, have a friend who has joined, seemingly no matter where they are from. They hear about us from Dr. James Hansen, and from Dr. Katharine Hayhoe… or from someone in government or from someone who refuses to accept that public service can’t be honorable… and what they hear is that someone is doing that impossible and always necessary thing they need to believe someone will do.

Ben Franklin said the Constitution offered us “a republic, if you can keep it.” The work you do is the work of keeping that delicate, powerful thing healthy and safe and on course for a better future.

The pride I feel at working for CCL, at knowing all of you… at serving our volunteers, and working to take what you make possible into as many of the special rooms around the world where the nature of people’s experience is decided by others… and not always with any input from those they decide for… that pride is nourished and sustained by the knowledge that every day, we do work that is meant to make people’s lives, and the systems that decide what is possible for them, better.

If anyone kept track, you would be amazed at the number of times people from all different backgrounds, and from all levels of influence around the world, say to me that knowing about what we do gives them hope.

Thank you for making that experience possible, and for making it such a routine part of the experience I have of doing this work.

Tonight, I am celebrating all of you, with good friends and allies, at the heart of a global process that benefits from all that you do every day.

Thank you for 10 years of unstoppable good works, for believing in people, and for all that you do to surround people with the knowledge that better is possible, that each of us has the power to make a better world, and that talking honestly with people, without fear or prejudice, really can change everything.

While we all hope the injustices of the world will be dissolved and all people will live free of fear and suffering, I think the need to solve big problems will always be with us. And the kind of empowerment, education and upkeep that you all do so well will continue to be necessary.

The groundwork you have laid for that future of honorable, ongoing civic empowerment will touch millions of lives, and all of them for the better.

Please keep this thought with you.

Knowing you makes me stronger, and I hope you feel the same about all of those you are with right now.

Celebrate unabashedly, as I know you will. And keep diving into this work, with all that you’ve got.

Onward! Always…

With love and gratitude,


Joe Robertson is the Global Strategy Director for Citizens' Climate Lobby. He is also the author of CCL's booklet, "Building the Green Economy."