In a democratic society, our elected representatives have a duty to listen to their constituents’ opinions. One of the most effective ways to make your opinion heard is to write a letter. A personal letter carries the most weight with any
recipient than signing a petition.
• Students in this class have a powerful voice in the issue of climate change. This is due, in part, to the following reasons:
- After completing the previous lesson on climate change science you know more about the issue than most people.
- Your knowledge of the issue will allow you to write a well-informed and persuasive letter.
- You are young, and climate mitigation decisions being made right now will affect the rest of your life.
- You are able to vote. Decision makers know youth are developing a strong voice and are becoming involved in civic life more than the generations before them.
in the government. For example:The President sets the general course.The State Department and its Special Envoy for Climate Change take a leadership role in the negotiations.The Senate Foreign Relations Committee reviews any potential treaties.Congress must ratify any treaties before they become law.
The following tips will help you write a powerful letter to a decision maker:Keep it short. Limit your letter to one page and one issue.Identify yourself and the issue. In the first paragraph of your letter state who you are and what issue you are writing about.Focus on your main points. Choose the three strongest points to support your argument and develop them clearly. Too much information can distract from your position.Make it personal. Tell your decision maker why the issue matters to you and how it affects you, your family, and your community. Make a connection to the elected official. Did you vote for him or her? Did you contribute to the campaign?Ask for a reply. Include your name and address. Trust your voice. Be polite and take a firm position in your letter. Be confident in your understanding of the issue and remember that the official may know less than you. Thank elected officials when they make a
decision the way you want.
Your position can be based on personal opinion, but it must be supported with specific evidence and examples. Use at least three pieces of supporting evidence for each point. This indicates you have a good understanding of the topic. It also makes a case for why your position is valid. Before starting to write, review your facts. Decide on a focus for your letter.
Pick your top three points. Make an outline of your letter. Decide which three supporting statements you will use for each.
Topics you may choose to cover:
Current EPA budget cuts and changes
The US withdrawal form the Paris Treaty
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