Letters to the Editor: Getting local media attention on the need to update Washington’s climate pollution limits!
It’s been more than a decade since Washington state adopted guidelines for limiting our state’s greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst consequences of a rapidly changing climate. Science has progressed a lot since 2008, when the initial limits were put in place – it’s time to bring us up to date and get us on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050. House Bill 2311 & Senate Bill 6272 do just that, and it accounts for the tremendous carbon-sequestering power of our natural and working lands to help us reach those goals. The House version of the bill has passed a House policy committee and continues to move through the legislative process.
HB 2311/SB 6272 is common-sense legislation that helps Washington state do our part to prevent, reduce and remove carbon dioxide and other climate-changing greenhouse gases from our atmosphere.
Here’s how to write a letter to your local newspaper (also known as a letter to the editor) urging your lawmakers to support updating Washington’s climate pollution limits:
Share your own story
The most powerful message is your own story. Why does this matter to you? Why do you care? How has climate change affected you, your family, your livelihood? How do you see the future if we act to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – and if we continue with “business as usual”?
Whatever your story is, connect with your around your shared values: jobs, your community’s health and prosperity, a healthy future for your children; our shared responsibility to be stewards of our communities and our home.
Name one or more of the following threats and opportunities:
The threat of wildfire is exacerbated by changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures. As we have seen recently in Australia and as we see regularly here at home, wildfires have devastating consequences – destroying lives, homes and businesses, threatening the health of some of our most vulnerable neighbors, especially children with asthma and elders with respiratory challenges; harming our natural-resources-based economy.
Decreased snowpack and changes in rainfall patterns lead to water scarcity, affecting farmers and ranchers – and everyone who eats! Our salmon require cool, clean, abundant water, for which we need a more stable climate.
Investing in our natural and working lands, and in cleaning up our transportation, building and industry sectors, will help create jobs and provides many other benefits – cleaner air, recreation opportunities, access to healthy food, fish and wildlife habitat, and more.
Letters to the Editor
Individuals write letters to the editor when they want to respond to a specific news article, editorial, or a newspaper’s overall coverage of an issue with their own opinion or to point out something that was missing from a particular news story. Letters don’t always have to be in response to an article or an editorial – they can also be a topic that is current and relevant to a paper’s readership - like asking our state legislators to pass climate legislation!
Letters to the editor are a way for members of the public to share their perspective on the issues of the day and an excellent way of attracting the attention of our state legislators. Why? Legislators and their aides pay close attention to media coverage, particularly in their home district. Any publication that mentions them by name will be dropped on their desk and discussed by their staff.
How to submit
Find the Letters to the Editor submission page on your local newspaper's website. Pay careful attention to the word limit, which is usually around 250 words.
Write the letter (see Letter Structure tips below)
Paste your letter into the body of your email (no attachments – they tend to get caught in spam filters), or into the given field.
Be sure to include all the personal information requested, usually address and phone number. Don’t worry, this is only to verify your identity and won’t be published.
Your letter will have the best chance of being published if you follow a few general rules:
Be yourself. Speak from the heart about why this matters to you personally.
Decide on your main point and focus on it.
Connect the risks of climate inaction to your own life: how does climate change affect you, your family, or things you care about?
Show an understanding of the broader context, including federal inaction on climate policy and international agreements such as the Paris Accord, and an awareness of the economic and equity elements of smart climate policy.
Mention your state legislators by name and urge them to vote to update Washington’s climate pollution limits.
If you have questions or need support in writing a letter to the editor on HB 2311 and climate pollution limits, please contact Morgan Michel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up here if you are interested in writing an LTE: