Ask Eartha: Make your voice heard – It’s easier than you think |

Ask Eartha: Make your voice heard – It’s easier than you think

Eartha Steward

Activism has deep roots in our society, taking shape as a voice, photo, march, chant, signature, book, or song. Environmentalism can be as simple as being a steward of the earth or as complicated as a lifelong campaign. In essence, its goal is to protect (or in some cases heal) the earth.

Free-thinkers like John Muir, Ansel Adams, Julia Butterfly Hill, Rachel Carson, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, and Jane Goodall (to name some of my favorites) will always be remembered because they are or were one of those “lifelong campaigners.” They’ve spent their entire lives fighting for land conservation and better food or against pollution and unnecessary destruction of our most precious resources.

Environmentalism doesn’t have to be complicated! In fact, it’s come a long way from chaining yourself to a coal power plant or taking residence in a tree (even though I’m a huge fan, Julia).

Environmentalism doesn’t mean extreme. You can now support a “Fair Farm Bill,” more fuel-efficient cars, renewable energy, endangered species (Save the Polar Bears!)… at home in your pajamas by simply clicking a button or making a phone call.

With the movement of online campaigns, social media, and email newsletters, online activism is requiring well… less activity. So how impactful is lobbying from your computer? Does an email really make a difference?

A simple signature to an email or online petition can count as a vote for or against a particular piece of legislation or policy. A phone call or personal email can count for even more.

When policymakers are looking to the community for how they feel about a specific policy, your vote is counted. Congressional staffers keep track of these votes so policymakers are informed about what their constituents are concerned about.

What can you do? Pick a current environmental cause and start using these tactics:

1). Sign Online Petitions – Forget door-to-door signatures for your petition, you can now sign your name to a statement or in support of new legislation via your mouse and keyboard. Online petitions are extremely successful in gathering hundreds, if not thousands, of signatures in a short amount of time. These signatures can be used for local and national campaigns to show citizen support. There are now websites that host petitions from all over the world. Start clicking away at or

2). Call Your Representatives – Many campaigns will provide you with a simple script to use when calling a representative. It’s actually very easy and not as intimidating as it seems. You can call the congressional switchboard to automatically be connected to your representative at 202-224-3121. If you are leading the campaign, a script should start with something like this:

“My name is ________ and I am a constituent living in Representative ________’s district. I want to urge Representative ________ to support… (include the bill’s name/numnber with a sentence or two about what it is and why it is important to you).”

3). Send an email – A personal or scripted email to your representative can also make an impact. For some people, it is much less intimidating to email than to call.

4). Social Media It – You can rally more people online through Facebook and Twitter than you can in person. “One” can become a multitude when you include your friends.

5). Educate Em’ – Host a forum on the topic and encourage your neighbors, friends, and co-workers to join the movement. Tell them about your campaign and encourage them to support it by signing a petition or calling a representative. Spreading the news by word-of-mouth is a powerful way to support a cause!

Most importantly, you can also combat pollution, fracking, climate change, genetic engineering, and even plastic bags by everyday choices you make at home, work, and at the store.

Whether you’re fighting on the ground or the web, your voice as a consumer, a citizen, or a human being is just as powerful as a thousand voices!

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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