Day 5: Call your national reps.
Today's Action: Calling those people who represent you in Congress!
(If you're reading this action on a weekend, you can make a note to do this on Monday. Also, FWIW, we wrote this before the Inflation Reduction Act was passed, but it is still helpful to call your reps to urge further action on the climate crisis.)
Today’s action is to call those numbers we looked up yesterday (missed it? Click here) to urge your senators and congressperson to support specific climate actions. We know today’s action may be intimidating, but it’s important: your voice matters, and each call gets us closer. (Trust us, we do really know – we ignored requests like this for years before we finally started calling. If you’re in the same camp or have never called your reps before, see our tips in the “Looking for More” section below. You can do it!)
Each call usually takes only 1-2 minutes. Call both of your senators and your congressperson at their DC numbers. Use our sample script below, adjusting as you’d like.
→ Sample script:
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent from [CITY/TOWN, ZIP]. I'm calling today because I'm very concerned about the climate crisis, and I want to urge [REP/SEN NAME] to support passing major climate and clean energy legislation that invests at the scale of the crisis and that will cut carbon pollution in half by 2030. We must take serious climate action NOW. Thank you!
→ Optional add-on: [If you want, before you say “thank you,” you can also say “… I want to urge [REP/SEN NAME] to support passing major climate and clean energy legislation that invests at the scale of the crisis and that will cut carbon pollution in half by 2030, including legislation that:
creates policies for 100% clean power by 2035 (and),
ends all fossil fuel subsidies and fossil fuel leases on public lands (and),
directs funding to communities most affected by climate change (and),
puts a price on carbon.”
These specific points are explained further in the "learn and reflect" section below.
Why this action? To get the structural changes we need, we need to push our elected representatives to do much more on climate change. Your voice counts, so make sure it’s heard. And as we said yesterday, this is not a partisan action! If you’re a Republican, or if your representatives are, your calls on this issue are critical. If you’re a Democrat or independent, or your reps are, your calls are equally important!
(And if you're a friend outside the US, we hope you're able to adapt this one to your context!)
Looking for more? See below for our tips on calling reps and for more info and actions!
Tips for calling your representatives:
If you’ve never called your representatives before, calling can feel daunting. We feel your pain! But calls are quick and not so scary once you start -- you either will talk to a young staffer or will leave a voicemail. Say that you’re a constituent and give your zip code, state what you want your representative to do, and you’re done!
If you can’t get through due to a high volume of calls, try again! During busy periods, it may take a few tries to get through.
IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied. Otherwise, your representative’s office might ignore it because they won’t know if you’re actually a constituent..
Remember to be polite when you call :)
You can call the DC or local office; conventional wisdom suggests that if you’re calling about a vote or time-sensitive issue, call the DC office, but otherwise, call your representative’s local office.
Only call your representatives. If you’re not a constituent, a politician’s office won’t track what you’re calling about.
Whenever you call, always include the specific thing you want your representative to do. To make your call even more effective, you can include your personal story, explaining why you care about the issue. (More tips here and here.)
Learn and reflect:
Want to understand the specific suggestions that you could raise with your representatives?
Policies for 100% clean power by 2035. Rapidly switching to wind and solar power is critical for meeting the goal of cutting carbon pollution by 50% this decade. Evergreen Collaborative describes policies that clean up the power sector as the “most powerful tool in our toolbox.”
Ending all fossil fuel subsidies and fossil fuel leases on public lands. Since we know we need to rapidly shift away from fossil fuels, two logical places to start are ending government subsidies for fossil fuels (since these give fossil fuels an advantage over renewables -- and also, why would we subsidize something we want to end?!) and ending fossil fuel leases on public lands, including offshore (as new leases and infrastructure lock in more fossil fuel production for years or decades to come).
Directing funding to communities most affected by climate change. As we tackle climate change, we also have an opportunity to support public health and environmental justice in frontline communities, especially communities of color that have suffered from a long history of environmental racism.
A price on carbon. This is a fee applied to fossil fuels where they enter the economy, with the fee money then returned as a dividend back to households. This fee helps to more accurately reflect the costs of carbon, and incentivizes a faster move away from fossil fuels. (Though the true price of carbon should be infinite, because we need to stop burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon, so a price should be seen as an interim tool.) The dividend helps to make sure that households aren’t bearing the brunt of increased fossil fuel prices (i.e. so that the fee isn't regressive, disproportionately hurting lower-income families). There are many benefits to carbon pricing, but also fair criticism (including that carbon pricing allows continued burning of fossil fuels, which disproportionately harm frontline communities and communities of color). Over here at 31DoCA, we think carbon pricing can be a useful tool, though only as one tool among the many we need – on its own, it's not nearly enough. (As climate activist Bill McKibben says, “there are no silver bullets, only silver buckshot.”)
Check out Call4Climate, which gives you one number that links you to all of your representatives. Their website has great info about the type of bold climate legislation we need now (including on most of the specific topics discussed above).
Check out Citizens Climate Lobby, which focuses on building bipartisan solutions to climate change–in particular, putting a price on carbon.
Ask 3-5 friends to call as well! To make it easier for them to do it quickly, you can text your friends with the phone number(s) to call and the message(s) to convey. (If you want an example, see below for a screenshot of a message that Kaitlin sent to friends last fall). Or direct them to Call4Climate.
Commit to doing a “call streak” this week or month -- a number of consecutive days when you call your reps each day or on the same day every week.