How to keep the heat on our Senators
Thank you for signing up to work with us during the August recess and let senators know it’s not okay to quit working to stop climate change. Keeping the heat on your senator takes more time than making a phone call, but it’s also more fun. The basic idea is to attend an event where your senator is speaking. Have a few friends stand outside with signs, and then have one or two people inside the event and ask the senator when they plan to actually pass a climate bill, and that you hope to see them at a work party on 10/10/10.
Before we get to the real toolkit below, take a peek at this fun video about how NOT to shadow a member of congress.
Here are the steps you need to take to get started:
- Get Prepped:
- Recruit 5 volunteers (friends, neighbors, colleagues) in your community to visit events with you. Ask them if they can spend a few hours hearing from their senator, and to send a message that he or she needs to Get to Work.
- Know your elected officials' record. Check out this handy Dirty Energy Money tool from our friends at Oil Change International to find out how much money he/she has received from oil, gas and coal companies.
- Find Events:
You’ll need to do a little research in order to find where your senator will be during the recess. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Check your elected officials’ websites by clicking here.
- Check to see if there's a calendar of events on the website. Often, they'll have the biggest events featured. Some offices blog and will mention upcoming events in their commentary.
- E‐mail alerts: Sign up for your senators’ e‐mail alerts if you don’t already receive them. You can also do this through their websites.
- Local newspapers: Often reporters will mention any big events coming up in the local news, so read anything that mentions your senators, or search on news.google.com.
- If you're not seeing events on their website, pick up the phone and give their office a call—and ask their staff what events are being planned in your state for the August recess.
- Get a crowd at the events
- Once you find a local event that you can attend, create a Facebook event with the event date, time, location, then invite friends to come out to it with you.
- Host a gathering the night before the event, and discuss what roles people will play at the event. Who will ask a question of the Senator or Representative? Who will approach staff members after the event to get their contact information for follow-up for 10/10/10?
- Make signs! Write clearly, in black or red markers, on a poster board that you can take with you easily. Our message this year is Get to Work, so we encourage you to make a big “get to work” sign, with the following additions for other signs:
“Stop climate change”
“Clean energy now!”
“You work for me, not BP!”
- Day-of Event Outline Gather with your volunteer crew an hour before the event. Make sure no one is wearing a shirt with an environmental message (keep those 350 shirts at home for once!), so that your senator doesn’t automatically know what you’re asking before you ask it. This is the stealthy part...
- Photos/video: Make sure that you have volunteers set up to take photos/video of your friends with their signs and the question being asked.
- Ask your question - Identify one or two people to be the spokespeople for your group. Be sure and preface it by expressing disappointment about the lack of Senate action on climate change this year. You can point out that there’s widespread polling evidence of public support, not to mention outrage about the oil spill and an urge to see polluters pay. Here are some sample questions:
“As a resident of [state], I’m outraged that the senate passed the buck on climate change this year. With a raging oil spill and rising temperatures, it’s unacceptable. I’m taking part in the global work party on October 10—what will you do to get to work on climate change when you return to DC?”
“When I voted for you, I expected you to help lead our state towards a green economy. Instead, you and the US Senate just passed up the opportunity to really take a stand on climate change. I'm working hard to bring diverse groups of people together to get to work on climate solutions on 10/10/10—How will you rebuild consensus in DC to reach a scientifically based cap on carbon?"
- Speak to staff after the event, and get their contact info so you can follow up with them.
- Write or call the staff that you meet at the event, and encourage them to take part in local 10/10/10 events.
Confused? Need help? Email email@example.com and we’ll contact you to walk you through this.