Updated: Mar 4

Despite lingering pandemic woes, 2021 has gotten off to a hopeful start. With Biden's election and the clear signals his administration is giving that they are serious about tackling climate change, it feels there is renewed energy around the world. And here is BC, our 128 Climate Alliance members have also been busy, building our movement and letting politicians know climate action is at the top of our agenda.
In late January, members from Nelson met with newly elected MLA Brittny Anderson (NDP, Nelson - Creston riding). Anderson holds an MSc in Environmental Science and Policy, and has expressed her commitment to tackling climate change and protecting the natural environment (The Nelson Daily, Sept. 20, 2020). The group discussed a range of issues from fossil fuel subsidies to forestry practices. They gave Anderson a gift of the book All Fracked Up! The Costs of LNG to British Columbia, and followed up with the BC Climate Alliance ask.
At the inaugural meeting of the Sunshine Coast Climate Action Network, member Anke from Victoria spoke about the BC Climate Alliance's lobbying work, emphasizing the values of respect and nonpartisanship. She explained some of the effective techniques lobbyists use such as maintaining focus and sharing personal stories. She also highlighted how to lay the groundwork for a successful meeting by taking advantage of the excellent background information that has been collated by members so that we have the facts at our disposal when meeting with MLA, speaking with the press or writing letters to the editor.
Members from Nanaimo hosted a Climate Action Network meeting with over 70 people from a diversity of groups and communities in the area working on climate change.
Members in the East Kootenay continue to engage with their local MP and are planning a meeting with their MLA. They also host a monthly Climate Friday noon hour webinar on diverse topics of interest to the local communities such as energy efficient homes and recycling issues.
Our Okanagan members were also busy, setting up a local Climate Hub and having a fruitful meeting with MP Dan Albus (Conservative, Environment and Climate Change critic).
Of course there is lots more to do, and lots more plans underway. Join us - write a letter to your local representative, join a local BC Climate Alliance group, or simply reach out to your family and friends and make sure that climate action stays at the top of our agenda.
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Updated: Jan 31

For democracy to truly work, elected officials need to know what their constituents want and where their priorities lie. Yet, many of us are unsure of how to continue to participate in the political process after we've dropped our ballot in the box at election time.

Lobbying – articulating one’s views to elected representatives - is one of the key tools BC Climate Alliance uses to create political will for climate action, and their lobby training workshops walk participants through the process of having a successful meeting with an MLA.

Their approach centers on forging positive, productive relationships with politicians, regardless of political affiliations. The workshop leaders Anke van Leeuwen, Margaret Holm and Laura Sacks emphasized the need to come from a place of respect, of finding common ground”, “This may mean connecting on a community issue, something outside of the climate emergency – if you look, there is always something you can agree on”, they explained.

They also talked about ways to present your message effectively by packaging it in a ‘Value Sandwich’.

The slice of bread at the bottom of the sandwich is why the issue matters to you, personally, and you start with this. Perhaps you have a child with asthma, and you are concerned about the increase in wildfires due to climate change. Or maybe you work in the mountains and witnessed how our glaciers are shrinking, or you are a skier worried about the growing unreliability of winter snow. You speak from your personal experience, from your heart.

Of course a sandwich also needs a filling, something of substance you can sink your teeth into (veggie sausage anyone?). This is the ‘ask’, the policies we need the provincial government to implement: ending fossil fuel subsidies, better stewardship of our forests, including full climate impacts in environmental review. All backed by facts, all within reach. You share the research you have done, the expert testimony you’ve gathered.

Lastly you finish the sandwich with another slice of bread, by coming back to the personal, why this matters to you, the constituent, and to the elected official you are meeting. After all, we all want the best for our communities; climate action is in all of our interests. As Margaret and Anke reiterated, “Your most powerful message is to tap into your personal feelings and your shared values”.

Approaching elected officials can be daunting, for any of us. “Lobbying can definitively get me out of my comfort zone” Laura, a hydrologist and long-time climate campaigner told me, “but at this critical time in history I see that as a good thing”.

Keep your eyes on our website and social media to learn about upcoming BC Climate Alliance lobby training events, and of course, reach out if you have any questions. And be sure to phone or write YOUR MLA about climate action. MLA contact info here.

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Source: CBC

The worst kept secret in BC is finally out. The election will be October 24. We hope you and your fellow climate advocates will consider meeting with the candidates in your riding. It is really important that candidates know citizens want real action on the climate crisis.

To help you feel comfortable making that lobbying appointment,  BC Climate Alliance is offering a short lobby training workshop run by experienced citizen climate lobbyists. This is open to any BC resident.

You will learn:

  • Effective non-confrontational approaches to lobbying

  • Teamwork and roles

  • Meeting preparation 

  • Making your ask*

The training will include a lobby meeting role play, time for questions  and we will provide key materials for your use.

The training will be via Zoom:

Tuesday September 29 5:30-7:00 PT / 6:30-8:00 MT

Feel free to bring your supper!

Everyone is welcome even if you know absolutely nothing about lobbying. An election campaign is a great time to dip your feet in because candidates are eager to meet.  

Please fill in this form to save your spot.

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