This is a series I’ve wanted to start for months now. When I was in university I was a fervent activist and avid letter writer, frequently penning letters to the editor and to my local representatives, usually in the name of voting system reform and environmental issues (what can I say, I got my binge-drinking out of the way in high school 🙈).
When I moved to the UK six years ago, I felt politically disconnected. I was no longer able to vote in Canada but didn’t understand my place within the British political system. In fact, I still feel that way. But I know that the solution is to leap in with both feet. This is not a time to stay silent or sit on the sidelines.
I know that it can feel overwhelming to pen a letter to a political representative. We understand that this is an important way to have our voices heard in a meaningful way, but we’re hardly experts. What should we say?
#LettersForClimate will provide you with templates that you can tweak. Whether that’s simply by inputting your personal details and your representative’s name, or by adding, subtracting, and revising to make it your own.
Once there are a few more, I’ll create a dedicated area on this site to house the letters. I’d love for it to become a robust resource, addressing the many facets of climate change and the environmental crisis. Many hands make light work, so if you’ve recently written a letter about an environmental issue to one of your representatives and would like to email it to me to turn it into a template, I’d be forever grateful. And I would link to you in the corresponding post, of course.
The first letter is about tree planting and in particular, urging our local councils to get involved in reforestation and tree planting efforts as a potential way to avoid climate catastrophe. If you’re in the UK, this website provides an easy way to find out the contact details of your local councillor, but a simple Google should serve you well wherever you are.
Dear REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME,
I am one of your constituents in AREA’S NAME.
Like so many others, I am becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change, and the devastating effects it will have on the world’s most vulnerable people and our children’s futures. I know from reading the 2018 report from the International Panel on Climate Change that the world will look terrifyingly different if it warms to 1.5 degrees higer than pre-industrial temperatures and as a planet, we’re currently on a path that will far exceed that. We know without a doubt that we have a very limited window – eleven years – to act in order to avoid this full-on climate catastrophe.
So I was very encouraged to read last week’s findings from scientists and climate experts on the massively positive impact that large-scale tree planting could have in mitigating climate change. We also know that green spaces have so much to offer in terms of both physical and mental life so it’s a step that could have a widespread positive ripple in our communities.
Of course this solution is not enough on its own but the simplicity and low cost of implementing their suggestions means it is one that should not be ignored. But in order to be effective, action must be taken right away.
Although their report does not look at tree planting in cities specifically, I think that NAME OF COUNCIL has an important opportunity and a responsibility to take action in supporting these tree planting efforts.
I am urging you to raise this with the council and propose the following actions:
- Consult experts to identify how our city can best support these tree planting efforts
- Identify areas where large numbers of trees can be planted within CITY names and make plans to begin planting in autumn. As September and October are the best months for tree planting – we have the chance to get started right away!
- Implement subsidies or give away trees to citizens who are willing to plant trees on their property.
- Implement measures to better protect existing forests and parklands from development.
- Mount a campaign to educate local residents about the importance of tree planting and encouraging those who have space to plant trees on their property.
There is so much bad news these days, especially when it comes to the environment. So when good news like this comes along, one that offers a simple, actionable solution to the monumental problems we are facing, we need to hold onto it and act without delay – both for the hope it offers us and to do everything we can to prevent the catastrophe we are currently moving towards.
I will look forward to hearing from you and how you plan to take action on this important issue.
All the best,