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Why I Am Putting All My Eggs In The Citizens Climate Lobby Basket

2012/01/24

Citizens Climate Lobby is a well-organized grassroots organization made up of Canadians and Americans who want a sustainable future for their children, and are willing to work on creating the political will for a sustainable climate. In the process, they are empowered to claim their own political power in a way many citizens don’t these days. I have been a CCL volunteer for over a year, and have learned more about climate change and working for political change than I ever would have imagined. Today’s guest blogger is Cathy Orlando, Project Manager for Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. Cathy recently left her job as the Science Outreach Coordinator at Laurentian University in Sudbury to devote her time and energy to creating the political will for a sustainable climate. The “Cathy Orlando Environmental Stewardship Award”  was created in 2011 by the national science organization Let’s Talk Science to recognize an outstanding and innovative environmental activity by a “Let’s Talk Science” volunteer.

Truth be told I am not passionate about climate change. My true passions are poverty, children and community. I know that climate change is going to severely impact all of those things. Thus I have put all my eggs for the next while into the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) basket to push for a price on carbon pollution federally and bilaterally with the USA .

I feel that CCL has the capacity to make this happen because they are laser focused, are using a proven business plan and are promoting a properly vetted economic plan.

As Sudbury’s group leader, last year I lead the CCL chapter on less than 10 hours per month and usually closer to 5 hours per month.

The three most important things each CCL Leaders will do are:

  1.  Gather a small group of people around them that meets once a month to improve their education on all aspects of climate change and motivate each other. It can be on the Saturday monthly call but alternatively you can listen to the 20 minute education piece anytime anywhere online after it airs.
    The current ones are on their home page.
    And the archived ones are here.
  2.  Develop a Gandhian-like relationship with your Member of Parliament around the issue of climate change. Present the truth of the science of climate change and our economic plan (Carbon Fee and Dividend), ask them to consider it, and listen carefully to their responses. The listening part is the most important part of being a lobbyist because we seek to:
    –  find common ground and help eliminate barriers that might stand in the way of a politicians doing the right thing
    –  appeal to the “big thing” that lies within all of us
  3.  Get articles, letters to the editor and editorials published in your local media so that people can become more educated about the truth of the economics, social impacts, health impacts, public impacts, global security impacts and science of climate change and thus the politicians will be able to act.

Empowerment is energy-giving
There is something magical that happens when you do this work. At first you might have to overcome inertia and get out of your comfort zone, but you grow as a person. You become empowered. People around you become empowered. It is very energy giving work. People don’t believe when I say I am a shy and sensitive person. I have spoken truth to power and been in the media more times than I can count now. As well, I am making friends for life across this great continent. When all is said and done I will be able to say to my grandchildren some day, “I did my very best at the time of the climate crisis.”

I know when we get a price on carbon pollution, not only will I have peace of mind, but I will have grown tremendously as a human being and have made the most incredible friends for life. My gut feeling about the effectiveness of Citizens Climate Lobby is shared by the Grandfather of Climate Change, Dr. James Hansen.

Dr. James Hansen Quote:

“When you go away from here the most important thing you can do, in my opinion, is to support www.citizensclimatelobby.org because they are pressuring the government to do what is in the public’s interest, not big business.” – Nov. 6, 2011 Washington DC

To find out how you can work to create the political will for a sustainable climate, and realize your own personal and political power at the same time, email Cathy at ccl.sudbury@citizensclimatelobby.org. Ask her about joining the introductory call on the first and third Wednesdays of every month, or go to citizensclimatelobby.org for more info.

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