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Make a Call for Earth
Let your representatives know how important protecting our planet is this Earth Day.
Earth Day reminds us to rethink how we’re helping and harming our planet. There are many ways to celebrate the day and one of the fastest, easiest and most effective things you can do is contact your representatives and tell them how important protecting our planet is to you.
Although it can seem daunting, contacting your representatives isn’t a strenuous process. Your representatives want to hear from you and it’s perhaps the best way to have your voice heard on issues that matter to you.
If you don’t already know who your legislators are, you can find them online. For Minnesota residents, use this map to find your legislators. If you are from Wisconsin, you can use this district map. For the full directory of representatives, visit the United States House of Representatives' website.
Now that you know who is representing you, you can contact them. There are various ways you can contact your representatives, including:
- Email: Email is one of the fastest ways to contact your representatives and as a consequence, it is also the most popular method. To make sure your message gets received, follow these tips:
Send the message only to YOUR house representative and senators
Keep your email short, informative and personalized
Use the online forms that your member of Congress provides (on their website?)
Include your name, address and phone number to show that you are their constituent
Letter: All correspondence gets reviewed and you will almost certainly receive a response. Just like the email, keep your letter personal and informational. However, note that your letter will be screened off-site for security purposes, so if your message is time sensitive, consider sending your letter as a .pdf attachment to an email.
Postcard: Similar to a letter, sending a postcard tends to be more personal than an email. Although your message will have to be shorter, it will not have to be screened.
Phone: It’s difficult to talk to a member on the phone, but you can pass on a message or talk to a legislative staff person who is in charge of your issue area. Before calling, review your message, plan to keep your call brief (less than five minutes), and be prepared to give your name, address and phone number. Remember to ask for a response from a member of Congress.
Meet in person: You can meet members while the legislature is in session as long as you have an appointment. Or, you can meet at district offices during recess. This method is usually easier and can be more productive as members tend to be less distracted than in session.
Attend a local public meeting: Members regularly hold meetings with the public to address concerns. Look for the schedule on your member’s website.
Issue a speaking invitation: You can invite a member to speak to a local group to which you belong to discuss local issues and potential solutions. In the time of social distancing, you can video them right into your living room during a virtual meeting of your group.
Respond to a survey: Many members send surveys by mail or email to solicit their constituents' views on issues before Congress. Participate in those surveys and mention your issue area as a top priority.
Participate in virtual forums: Many members of Congress now hold forums online. This is an easy and convenient method to share your concerns with your representative.
Keep in mind that the more of these things you can do, the better!
To create your message to your representative, follow these five points:
State who you are. You must prove that you are a constituent by providing your full name and address.
State you issue and cite the legislation number that corresponds to it. For example: “I’m concerned about _______ and the impact of bill _______.”
Support your position. Provide more detail about your concern and how it will impact you and your community.
State the action you want your representative to take. Ask them to “vote no” or “vote yes” on the particular legislation you referenced.
Thank them for their time and don’t forget to sign your message with your name and address.
You’re almost there! Remember these points when contacting your representatives:
Only mention one topic/piece of legislation per letter/postcard/phone call/etc. If you have multiple interests, you’ll have to write individual messages for each issue.
To effectively communicate, be brief, direct, and have supporting evidence.
Identify yourself correctly and supply your address if you are a constituent.
Do not use boilerplate or template text. State your stance in your own words.
To find a list of current bills, check out this website.