I was in Middle School when I heard Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech. It is over forty years later that we have our first African-American President, Barack Obama. Mr. King spoke up and spoke out eloquently and in a non-violent way. His words changed my life.
In celebration of Martin Luther King Day I thought it fitting for our third week to go on an engagement adventure. Inspired by Dr. King’s approach, we will choose an environmental, social, cultural or economic issue close to our hearts and learn how to take that issue to our politicians, the businesses we frequent or community leaders.
“Finding your voice” Week. Come up with five suggestions (an environmental, social, cultural or economic issue) and pass them on to the following:
• Write your Congressman an email or a real letter. (At least once in your lifetime you should visit your Congressman either in Washington DC or at his home office. My parents did this for my brother and I and I have never forgotten the experience we had when Senator Hubert Humphrey took us on a personal tour of the Congressional Chambers and his comments about the weighty responsibilities of his Office).
• Attend a town meeting or council meeting and speak up.
• Speak to your local coffee shop or businesses you frequent.
• In your workplace, make an environmental suggestion or ask your boss to create a “suggestions box” and a follow-up plan to engage your fellow employees.
• Engage this blog by commenting here – tell us which of your five was the most fun! We want to hear your story!
I’m not suggesting like Howard Beale in the movie, Network, that you run to your window and say, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Although you can if it makes you feel better!
Once you have found an environmental, economic, social or cultural issue you would like to bring to your local, regional or national politician’s attention, do your research. Some of the links below have some valuable suggestions that can be helpful to complete a substantive letter to your local politician!
Don’t be shy, while in your local coffee shop, take your own “to go” cup and ask them to refill it. As you order that sandwich from your local deli, ask them if they practice the 4 R’s; for example, do they compost? Let them know your wallet is behind greener businesses. If you are in a store, ask them to consider CFL lighting as opposed to inefficient incandescent bulbs.
And if you are business owners, you could encourage more sustainable practices by giving a discount to those who bring their own coffee mugs, bags, etc. Purchase your own mugs and bags to resell when you are asking, “Do you have your own bag, cup, etc.” Become recognized as a local sustainability leader.
In other words, be aware of your impact and your surroundings, be present. By being compassionate, kind and mindful of our collective impact we can make suggestions for a more sustainable world and they will be heard. So make your little corner of the world better during this “Find your Voice” week. Get engaged.
The Deep Dive:
How to contact Congress, citizen’s directory here.
Contact your Governor via email here.
Citizen’s guide to town meetings here.
Great ideas on how to influence Congress as a citizen here.
Visit your regional EPA office here.