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Did you ever want to change something, but you had no clue how to become active and involved or to get it to the right people who can implement these changes? Well here is the answer on how to do it! This is going to be a letter writing guide which you can use to make your voice heard.
Today on Earth Day, we want to motivate you to write a letter to your MP and use your power as a constituent to influence politics. We are political science students. So, what is the point in only studying politics in theory, if you don’t plan on using it in our real life?
This year’s theme for Earth Day is climate action. Earth Day is one of the key days in the history of the climate change movement. This guide is part of many initiatives all around the globe today. 1970 was the world’s first Earth day, now 50 years later a strong movement has been established that seeks to transform our approach to dealing with the environment and our surroundings. Letter writing is still the most effective way of urging politicians to take action on issues that are relevant to us.
Even now, during Corona inflicted self-isolation, we can make our voices heard and get creative. We can use the time to maybe have an impact on an issue that we are passionate about. This might be a turning point in history, a lot of things will have to change when the pandemic has passed and things slowly go back to a new “normal”.
How to get started …
Where to begin? Look up your constituency, the website of your country’s parliament or you might already know their name. This is to say, there are many ways to find them. It is really important to make your letter stand out and interesting as your MPs probably receive hundreds of letters on a very frequent basis. A general tip is to make your letter short and concise, get to the point people!
Here are some guidelines on how to write the letter:
- Be friendly and respectful, use the right form of address
- Make the letter personal and introduce your issue briefly
- Write the letter yourself and in your own way!
- Do not pose demands, but give some polite proposals or requests
- It is helpful to find a positive aspect in your MP and to mention it. Do not make that sound composed and unnatural
- It could be helpful to use the following to underline the urgency of your issue:
- Include relevant facts and figures
- You might want to refer to recent news
- Focus on the effect on the local constituency itself
- Also, mention what made you passionate about the issue
- Finish the letter formally
- In case of uncertainties try to find citizen’s lobbies for a cause you might support, e..g climate protection
Information on stamps
Look at the website of your national mail service, or you can also use postage calculators for each respective country. These are different for each country, even within the EU.
You probably already know the company / national service of your country!
To give you an example, stamps in the Netherlands cost €0.91 for domestic mail and €1.50 for international mail. Under this link you can find specifics.
Template of your letter(s)
Dear <<MP name>>
My name is <<insert name here>> and I’m writing to you today about <<issue>>. As a << voter with an interest in…>>, this issue is extremely important to me because <<reasons/your experiences>>.
I would like you to <<clear action points for the MP to take away with them and timeline on when you expect the issue to be resolved>>.
I hope for a response, and I would appreciate it if you could outline the steps you intend to take to address my concerns. If applicable, please escalate my letter to the relevant parliamentarian or department and keep me informed about any progress.
I look forward to hearing your response in due course.
<<Full address including postcode>>
Some more additional advice
What message are you trying to convey? What is the agenda you are trying to push? One crucial thing is to search for your MP online and to research them. With the information available, you can develop your letter further as follows:
What you can ask for:
- enquire about their position on issues such as carbon tax, banning of flights, incentives for zero-emission transportation, etc.
- ask for explanations of their voting pattern in the past
- has this been something you agree with?
- cooperation with civil society, movements and NGOs
If you still feel you need help on how to write the letter, there are countless examples on the internet:
Example 1: Demanding to combat climate change and pollution
“I’m writing to express my views on how government and (civil-omit )society should join efforts in order to grapple with environmental problems. Pollution and global warming are such enormous issues that they cannot be tackled solely by the government. The public must be the second front in the fight against climate change and environmental contamination/contamination of the environment.” (David L., UsingEnglish.com)
Example 2: Reducing emissions & renewable energies
“Specifically, I believe you should act to address the issues below, and I ask you to provide me with information on what the government is doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the following areas:
- Reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants
- Reducing emissions from the transport sector
- Funding initiatives for alternative and renewable energy technology
- Incentives for the uptake of renewable energy
- Removal of subsidies for fossil-based fuel sources” (Global-Greenhouse-warming.com)
Example 3: Queensland’s issue with litter
“Now that the state government has agreed to investigate container deposits for cans and bottles and look at restricting plastic bags, I am writing to let you know that I support the introduction of a 10c refundable deposit on bottles and cans to clean up litter and increase recycling in Queensland. The sooner the better!
Queensland is the most littered mainland state in Australia and bottles and cans are a huge part of the problem.” (boomerangalliance.org.au)
Now it’s your turn
We hope that this blog post inspires you to become active now! Don’t just talk about change, you can be part of the change. We would love to see some of your letters, maybe you can even motivate others by sharing it with your friends, family or roommates; this is to say, in whatever circumstances you are in right now, you can always make a positive impact.
An article written by Leonhard Hemmerlein & Sabrina Daadour, CIROS Goodwill Commissioners
If you want, feel free to share your letter via this email firstname.lastname@example.org