Steve Valk is communications director for Citizens Climate Lobby.
The coal and oil companies have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, and they spend tons of money on advertising campaigns and paid lobbyists to influence government policy. But the Earth has a far more powerful advocate – YOU. As parents, you speak with the moral authority of mothers and fathers fighting to protect your children — unlike the fossil fuel industry, which is fighting to protect its bottom line.
Next month, July 22-24, you can use your voice to make a difference by coming to Washington to be part of the Citizens Climate Lobby 2012 International Conference, also know as The Cure for Climate Trauma. Hundreds of volunteers will gather to:
1. acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be effective lobbyists for the planet
2. go to Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress and congressional staff to deliver a simple message: Put a price on carbon that weans our nation off fossil fuels and speeds the transition to clean energy
Most of us never tire of showing pictures of our kids. Imagine this: You go to a congressional office and find yourself sitting across the table from your representative. You take out the wallet photos and say something like this: “This is my son and this is my daughter. I’m here talking to you today because I don’t want the world to be a horrible mess when they grow up and start thinking about having kids of their own. I know you don’t want that, either, so let’s talk about how we can preserve a livable world for ALL children.”
Even better: Bring your child with you to Washington, introduce them to your member of Congress and let them ask, “What do you plan to do to stop climate change?”
Never heard of Citizens Climate Lobby? A brief introduction:
CCL is a grassroots, non-partisan organization that is working to build the political will for a stable climate. We train and support volunteers to develop relationships with members of Congress, the media and community leaders that will lead to enacting effective climate legislation. The focus of our lobbying efforts is a bill that will put a steadily-rising fee on carbon-based fuels and return the revenue to all households. The price on carbon will shift massive amounts of investment away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy. Returning the revenue to the public will shield households from the economic impact of rising energy costs associated with the carbon fee.
A bill has been introduced in Congress that takes this approach. It’s called the Save Our Climate Act (H.R. 3242). While we don’t think this bill will be passed in this Congress, we’re working to bring Democrats and Republicans together this year to draft legislation that members of both parties can agree on and introduce early in the next Congress.
Many people look at the partisan bickering going on these days and become pessimistic about the prospects of our government taking action on climate change. It is, indeed, a very toxic environment. But if you come to Washington next month, you can help transform this vortex of despair into a beacon of hope.
You can register for CCL’s conference here, and check out the agenda here. If you’d like to learn more about the organization, there are twice-monthly introductory calls that you can register for here.
For those of you familiar with the work of Dr. James Hansen, America’s leading climate scientist, I offer his words of encouragement:
“Most impressive is the work of the Citizens Climate Lobby, a relatively new, fast-growing, nonpartisan, nonprofit group with  chapters across the United States and Canada. If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of this group.”
If you’re ready to reclaim your democracy and save the world, I’ll see you in Washington.
Steve Valk is communications director for Citizens Climate Lobby. He lives in Atlanta where he and his wife Sara have two sons who are young adults. He looks forward to becoming a grandfather in the years to come.
Thank you, Steve!