climate_change_action_protest-537x356.jpgIt seems that most individuals and groups in this world are concerned about climate change. Fortunately for the environment and our own sake, there are also a great number of individuals and groups acting on their concern. If you google "top climate change activists", multiple results will come up with lengthy lists of their favorite groups. This what how I figured out what group I wanted to write to. After reading a short description about Sierra Club, I knew this was the one that I could relate to most. I remember briefly learning about the Keystone Pipeline in one of my business classes. At the time, I thought it seemed to be a reasonable idea. However, after reading what The Sierra Club had to say on its effects on the environment, I quickly realized I was wrong. I then took the opportunity of this prompt to thank this group on helping to convince our government of its the dangers that would have came with the Keystone Pipeline. I think it is important to acknowledge the accomplishments of the group you are writing to in order to show that you have done your research on them and actually have a vested interest.download (4).jpeg

I also wrote a section about my experience with climate change. I talked about a couple of the books I read in Our Place in Nature along with some of the projects we have been working on. I think this is essential as it shows that you have some knowledge on climate change. It proves to the reader that you do actually care about the environment and are starting to do your part.

The final crucial part is asking questions. Chances are that the person you are writing your email to has a lot more experience or knowledge on the subject. If they are truly passionate about what they do, they should have no problem sharing with you ways to better yourself on the fight against climate change. I asked questions about how I could get involved with climate change as an individual as well as a class. I also asked about things he does in his daily life to combat climate change that I could start doing. Overall, writing a letter to a climate change activist group or individual is a great way to work on your writing skills along with gaining a lot of knowledge from someone a lot more experienced. I think it would be a great idea to actually have the students send their emails. It can't hurt anything and I think these people would be delighted to share their thoughts with concerned students.
Encourage students to think outside the box when choosing groups as well as coming up with questions. You may even want to have some students write to climate deniers in order to find out why they do not believe in climate change. This could be a great way to compare totally opposing ideas. My email is copied below. Feel free to use it as an example for your class.

To: michael.brune@sierraclub.org
From: shane.p.stover@wmich.edu

Hello Mr. Brune,
I am writing to you as a concerned student but also on behalf of a class at Western Michigan University troubled about climate change. Throughout this semester, Dr. Webb has been teaching and raising awareness of the intensity of climate change in today’s world to us fellow
download (5).jpegstudents. No longer is climate change a futuristic problem. It is here and is only going to get worse. We have done many different projects in order to completely grasp what is going on and will happen if no changes are made. For example, we all have our own blogs that we continually work on so that we can share our own opinions and findings on the topics. Similarly, we have created a class wiki page with the intention of using it to help teachers build lessons about climate change. One of the greatest aspects of this class is that Dr. Allen gives us the freedom to choose our own books to read and discuss for class. With a strong interest in economics and politics, I chose The Ecological Rift and Ultimatum. I’m assuming you have at least heard of these titles, if not read them yourself, with all of the experience and interest you have in expanding your learning of climate change. If not, I would passionately recommend spending some time with these books. They may not change your life as they did for me, but you will definitely appreciate the author’s work. That is just a little bit about what I have been learning this semester and where I stand so far on climate change, but what I really wanted to talk to you about is what you have been doing with your organization Sierra Club.
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After doing a little research on your website, I am remarkably fond of Sierra Club. You guys are responsible for many projects in the past as well as current projects. Most recently, you guys helped convince San Diego to commit to being a 100% renewable energy city. This is
absolutely amazing. I had no idea until I visited your site that we have such an abundant supply of renewable energy. Prices of wind and solar are decreasing and in many areas the cost of renewable energy is actually cheaper than coal, gas, and nuclear power. With that being said, what would it take to make a city like Chicago commit to being 100% renewable energy? Chicago is obviously large and packed with all sorts of carbon emitting hotspots, but why not shoot for the stars. Is this something you guys are thinking about working on in the upcoming years? If so, I’d love to be a part of your 2 million members that certainly make a difference.

Of the many projects that the Sierra Club is a part of, the most impactful one may be the passion shown towards preventing the Keystone XL pipeline from being put into action. I briefly learned about this in one of my international business classes and at that time was in favor of its development. Unfortunately at this point, climate change was at the back of my mind. I saw it as a great economic opportunity for North America as a whole. As I learn more and more during this class as well as reading what you have to say about it, I realize that the economic opportunities are drastically outweighed by the burden that would come from it on the environment. The quote from you that really shocked me and put me in the right frame of mind was the pipeline would “guarantee that we’re locked into the most carbon-intensive fuel source on the planet for the next half-century.” The United States is supposed to be a leader and a role model for other countries to look up to. If developing countries see that we passed something that will increase our contribution towards what is ruining their lives now, we will certainly never have their trust or respect in the future.keystone1.jpg

The bravery of your members to stand up and protest for their beliefs have inspired me to take action as well. I see on your website that there is a Michigan chapter of Sierra Club. I plan to become a member of this incredible club that is certainly making a difference in the lives of today’s people but even more in the lives of future generations. The website includes a number of call to actions that interested visitors can participate in and I completely intend on doing as many as I can. Are there any other events coming up that you are excited about? Will you personally be attending any events in the Michigan area? I would be honored to meet a real life hero like yourself. Also, my class is searching for ways we can get involved as a group. Are there any events that you need a team of volunteers to run or help promote? I believe I speak on behalf of my whole class when I say we would be overjoyed to be able to help the Sierra Club and truly make a difference.

Finally, what can I do in my everyday life that would improve the current situation with climate change? I am not proud to say that I basically live like every other American right now. I am sure my carbon footprint is way higher than it needs to be. Are there any changes that you have made in your life that I could work on improving as well? It has been an absolute honor to be able to write to you. I am ecstatic to know that there are great people like you and your members in the world and I cannot wait to become a part of The Sierra Club.

P.S.
Recently, my class was fortunate enough to have Paul Clements come in and speak with us about different topics with the focus on climate change. We are always welcoming any visitors that would like to speak with us. I understand you are a busy man with all that you do, but if you have time during the next two weeks, my class would be honored to possibly Skype or speak with you in another fashion about Sierra Club and other ways we can get involved with combating climate change. We meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:00- 6:15 ET.

Thank you for your time,
Shane Stover
Concerned Student