Another trivially easy thing you can do to end climate change

Last week I wrote about how writing a letter is this easiest and most important thing you can do to protect the environment. This week, I have a follow-up suggestion: actually write the letter.

Some handful of you did so last week. Good job! But the majority of you managed not to get around to it. The printer is out of toner. You’re can’t find any envelopes. The mailbox is five blocks away. Who even owns stamps anymore? (If you find these obstacles insurmountable, read to the bottom for a way to have your letter mailed for you.)

Meanwhile, the climate bill in the senate continues to totter on the edge of passage. According to an analysis by E&E News, the ranks of undecided senators has swelled to 24. Combining their list with my previous list reveals a total of 31 senators whose votes remain uncertain:

* Alaska: Lisa Murkowski, Mark Begich
* Arizona: John McCain
* Arkansas: Mark Pryor, Blanche Lincoln
* Florida: George LeMieux
* Indiana: Evan Bayh, Richard Lugar
* Iowa: Chuck Grassley
* Louisiana: Mary Landrieu
* Maine: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe
* Michigan: Carl Levin
* Michigan: Debbie Stabenow
* Missouri: Claire McCaskill
* Montana: Jon Tester, Max Baucus
* Nebraska: Ben Nelson
* New Hampshire: Judd Gregg
* North Carolina: Kay Hagan
* North Dakota: Byron Dorgan, Kent Conrad
* Ohio: George Voinovich, Sherrod Brown
* Pennsylvania: Arlen Specter
* South Carolina: Lindsey Graham
* South Dakota: Tim Johnson
* Virginia: Jim Webb
* Washington: Maria Cantwell
* West Virgina: Jay Rockefeller, Robert Byrd

If your senator is on this list, please send a letter. If your senator’s not on this list, send a letter anyway. Doing so is easy as 1-2-3:

1. Download this template letter.
2. Find the names and addresses of your senators here.
3. Fill out a copy of the letter for each Senator you’re writing. Then print, sign, stuff, stamp, and mail.

Another option is to check out www.OneMillionCalls.org, a web site set up by climate acivist and TerraPass customer Jay Butera. The site’s mission is to get one million calls into Congress for the passage of climate change legislation. In addition to the handy tools for sending emails to your senators and congressperson, the site provides the option of paying a few bucks to have your note printed and mailed. It may seem like a trivial thing, but it really does matter.

Not convinced that a few people can make a difference? Jay passes along the following anecdote:

> Do you remember the article that you wrote in your newsletter about calculating the impact of tire pressure on fuel consumption? And you included a spreadsheet for calculating? Well, I started mentioning this concept in my talks to students. At one school where I talked about this, a group of students formed an organization and did a project where they surveyed tired pressure on their township school buses, found them all underinflated, and developed a program for their township to routinely inflate and check the tires. Then they went to a Toyota dealer in their area and worked with the service manager to check and inflate the tires on all cars as they came through for service. Those students actually won a national prize in the Lexus Eco Challenge for that project! (So you never can tell how far your impact might reach…)

Indeed. If those students can go to the trouble to get involved, then so can you. And afterwards, you can come back here and brag about your good work in the comments section.

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  1. Laura - October 28, 2009

    Ok, I sent the email and signed the petition at one million calls (very nice site). Then I shared the message by sending emails to friends, facebooked and twittered it. Hopefully Ohio’s constituents will vote for the bill.

  2. Christina - October 28, 2009

    Thanks for your persistency. I wrote a letter to my Senators. I will now encourage my friends to do the same.

  3. Alex - October 28, 2009

    I think that if you are going to ask for people to support a bill it is important to include at least some type of summary of the bill rather than simply referring to it as a “climate change” bill. I agree with the basic idea of reducing our impact on the environment, but the devil is always in the details, and here we are provided with none. One last thought- there are six links to other websites in this article, and not one of them is to an explanation of the bill. Maybe add a seventh link?

  4. Adam Stein - October 28, 2009

    The bill is the Senate version of the Waxman-Markey bill that recently passed in the House. It places a cap on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, establishes a cap-and-trade system, and contains a ton of other provisions related to clean energy and energy efficiency. Some summaries can be found here and here, among other places.

  5. Elena - October 28, 2009

    Though my senior Senator was NOT on the list when it came in the last “Footprint,” he was this time, so I sent the letter. I even added that we recently put solar panels on our house (true – best gift we’ve ever given ourselves. Everyone who can, should do it.) in hopes of striking some sort of chord.
    Hope all this works and the bill is passed.

  6. P Stover - October 29, 2009

    For those of your readers who found some excuse to NOT send a letter, you might let them know that many of the senators and congressmen now routinely accept and respond to emails. By following your links, I sent e-mail letters to both my senators. They’re going to vote against it but I feel like I did my part to let them know their vote is not representing all of their constituency.

  7. Adam Stein - October 29, 2009

    All senate offices accept email. These are not given as much weight as letters, so I would encourage people to actually mail something in, but an email is certainly preferable to not contacting your senators at all. Email addresses can be found here.

  8. Kathi D - October 30, 2009

    Fortunately I live in NJ where my Senators (Lautenberg and Menendez) STRONGLY support climate change legislation! But I’ve lived in other states whose Senators ARE on this list, so maybe I’ll send THEM a letter or email, just for good measure!

  9. Linda Castillo - January 6, 2010

    Thank you for your support for this bill. Our planet is in danger of becoming severely polluted. I am elderly but my grandchildren will see the results of our pollution as will their children.