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How To Fight Climate Change: Write Your Politicians

To deal with the climate emergency, we need systemic change, which means putting the heat on government. Some tried-and-true strategies for getting your letter noticed.

An illustrated letter

(Illustration: Vivian Rosas)

To really deal with the climate emergency, we need systemic change, which means putting the heat on government to do what’s right. When it comes to reaching out to politicians, “there’s no one-size-fits-all magic formula for citizen advocacy,” says Lisa Gue, an Ottawa-based senior policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation. That said, she has some tried-and-true strategies for getting your letter noticed. Check out the letter above, then read the strategy below.

  1. “Connecting the subject line to a decision that a politician has to make soon will help situate it as a ‘now’ issue,” says Gue.
  2. Search “forms of address” at canada.ca for the right handles for everyone from dignitaries to Indigenous leadership to the Queen.
  3. Data is good: Your note could put important research onto a leader’s desk or reading list. Just double-check the numbers before you hit “send.”
  4. It doesn’t hurt to emphasize that you live in their riding.
  5. Like other organizations, the Suzuki foundation shares templates for letter writers. But “personal details are another reason for a politician to pay attention,” says Gue.
  6. Requesting a follow-up means “a politician or their staff have to develop a response, which can force some reflection on an issue that might not otherwise have happened,” Gue says.
  7. Handwritten letters are nice, but email makes it “easier to get that letter circulating to the right desk—especially during COVID.”
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