Writing letters to the editor (LTE) is an important task for our group. It keeps the topic of climate change 'on the page' and in front of readers. Think of the newspaper’s editorial pages as sort of a town hall meeting that covers a wide range of topics. In essence, those editorial pages are a public conversation between the newspaper and its readers. The newspaper facilitates that discussion by choosing the topics brought up in the form of news stories, editorials or columns. Your job as a letter-writer is to be a brilliant conversationalist who stays on topic.
Half the battle of getting a letter published is being vigilant about reading the newspaper and looking for opportunities to respond with letters to the editor. Here is a hierarchy of things you can respond to in the newspaper to get a letter published. The higher up in the hierarchy, the better your chances of getting published. Consider responding to editorials, front page stories, staff-written columns, locally-written op-eds, syndicated columnists, other letters to the editor and inside new stories. You can even write a letter of thanks, to let the editors know you appreciate the coverage of a certain topic. Once you join, please consider being added to our email list. These types of articles are shared daily by experienced members. This has been very helpful to those of us who are still becoming adept at spotting them on our own.
We are pleased to report 44 letters written by CCL Sacramento members have been published in local newspapers in 2017. Our goal annual stretch goal is to reach 60 published letters! Join us as we strive to meet our mark!
We invite you to follow the link below. Examples of successful approaches are available for viewing.
Letter to the Editor
Re “Is living in a disaster zone now part of the California package? Wildfires show our risk” (Shawn Hubler, Dec. 24): My nephews have opened up the special toys they so wanted for Christmas. By next year, those will be at the back of the closet. The gift that will last their lifetime is a world that has a hospitable climate.
Failing to address climate change could mean that they may lose their home in a fire, as did families in Sonoma and Los Angeles counties. A good approach to reduce the effects of climate change, embraced by Democrats and Republicans, is a steadily increasing carbon fee with dividends returned to Americans.
A New Year’s resolution to do something weekly to make the world safer for the children in your life – calling your U.S. Representative, writing a check, talking to friends and relatives about climate change – would be the best gift ever. I plan to do whatever I can to ensure a habitable world for my nephews. Will you join me?
Eileen Heinrich, Sacramento
Published December 29, 2017 online and December 31, 2017 in hard copy
“Think Harvey-like flooding couldn’t happen to Sacramento? Think again” (sacbee.com, Aug. 30): This is excellent for us to ponder. If complacency is your attitude, what’s happening in Texas should be a wake-up call. We must reach out to our legislators, both locally and nationally, and insist on climate change as a top priority. We also must insist a fee be placed on carbon pollution.
Billie Hamilton, Sacramento
Published online and in hard copy on September 5, 2017
Cap and trade
“Gov. Brown prepares for new climate battle; it likely will cost you” (Dan Morain, June 25): Our climate champion, Gov. Jerry Brown, deserves credit for being the de facto leader on U.S. climate policy. But his new proposal is not the right way continue California’s price on carbon, when cap-and-trade expires in 2020. Senate Bill 775 by Sen. Bob Wieckowski is a far superior proposal. It eliminates offsets that endanger front-line communities, eliminates free allowances, preserves the Air Resources Board’s ability to protect our air and climate, and starts at a much higher floor price that will eliminate more emissions and raise more money than the current program. Best of all, it gives back a large portion of those funds, directly and equally, to all California households. This would protect especially low and middle incomes from the inevitable cost increases that the emitters will pass on to us. Republicans and Democrats should find a lot to like in SB 775.
Jennifer Wood, Sacramento
Published in print edition July 2, 2017
“EPA keeps scientists from speaking about report on climate” (sacbee.com, Oct. 23): The cancellation of EPA scientist participation in the Narragansett Bay Estuary conference is an example of the troubling withdrawal by President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt from an honest dialogue on global warming. There is scientific consensus that climate warming is exacerbating the melting of arctic ice, sea level rise, severity of hurricanes and intensity of wildfires. These life events have profound impact. Pruitt is entitled to his beliefs. However, his actions to suppress an honest dialogue amount to politically motivated attempts to obfuscate basic facts.
Dale Paige, Carmichael
Published October 23, 2017 online and October 25, 2017 in hard copy
Join Sac CCL Members and learn how to write effective LTE's to the Bee and other newspapers. LTE's inform public opinion and let the Editorial Boards know your concerns. We will be focusing on current national climate issues, but the principles can be applied to any topic.
Read some Sac CCL LTE's at this link to the Sac CCL Press File
Find out about current newspaper articles
Read the newspaper in print or on line
Set up one or more Google Alerts - example 'Sacramento Bee carbon' and 'Sacramento Bee climate'
Watch your email from Citizens Climate Lobby
Submit an LTE Online:
Refer to an article or national event and use the links below.
Pay attention to the word count!
Help CCL Tally Your LTE:
We have members who check every day for CCL LTE's in the Sacramento Bee. For other papers, check every day online at the newspaper website to see if your letter was published (if published, it will always go to the website, but not always in print).
Send the online link (copy the web address and paste into an email) to Rich Howard - firstname.lastname@example.org - Chapter LTE coordinator, so that he the can report your letter to the national CCL office.
For the Sacramento Bee, it is ok if you are not able to track your letter, because we have folks scanning and alerting Rich.
Thank you! LTEs are a great way to demonstrate political will!