By Ed Ignatoff, Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Citizens’ Climate Lobby held its annual national conference and lobby day in Washington, D.C., this June. The event brought together 895 passionate individuals from across the country, spanning the political spectrum and representing all 50 states.
These regular folks, like you and me, came on their own time and their own dime. It was a testament to the power of collective action in addressing the urgent issue of climate change.
This was the first time I attended, and I left with a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration. The conference kicked off with comprehensive training on effective lobbying techniques, equipping us with the skills and knowledge necessary to engage with lawmakers and their staff.
Additionally, we received valuable education on climate policy and the current legislative landscape, including discussions on permitting reform, carbon pricing and carbon border adjustment mechanisms. We practiced with our citizen lobby teams so we would be clear on the issues and, importantly, our asks.
On June 13 it all came together when we visited Capitol Hill en masse and held an impressive 436 constituent lobby meetings, making it Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s largest presence on the Hill since before the COVID-19 pandemic. We engaged with offices representing both sides of the political spectrum, including 160 House Republicans, 182 House Democrats, 45 Senate Republicans, 46 Senate Democrats and three Senate independents, emphasizing that climate change is an issue that transcends party lines.
What affected me most was the overwhelming camaraderie among attendees. Despite our diverse backgrounds, beliefs, ages, politics and ethnicities, we all shared a common purpose. There was a sense of unity and shared mission that could be felt, creating an atmosphere of collaboration and hope. It reminded me that in the face of such a critical challenge, we have the capacity to set aside our differences and work together for the greater good.
I heard the following quote on the radio recently. It’s from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Rings”:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
The people I met at the conference really embody Gandalf’s sentiment, It is my hope that events like these continue to inspire individuals from all walks of life to join the movement for climate action. Together, we can build a better and more sustainable world for future generations.
Ed Ignatoff leads the Boca Raton chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that brings together volunteers from across the political spectrum to advocate for legislation to tackle climate change.