Advocacy Corner – How to Take Action NOW!
by Lauren Berutich
With Congress busy proposing bills that critically affect public lands and so much more, many of you have asked, “What can we do NOW? Where can I make the greatest impact and how can I get involved?” As a member of Broads, you are not alone. Here’s how to act now—let’s get to it!
It’s time to put our decision makers and representatives’ phone numbers on speed dial. Write letters, sign petitions, and schedule in-person meetings. Let leaders know you are paying attention and that you care. Take a stand on issues and let them know how you feel and how it affects you directly. Urge them to make changes when necessary (be specific) and be sure to thank them when you agree with their stance. Be persistent and practice resilience.
2. Get Local
Start at home. Change begins right in your backyard. Developing relationships with those around you is a great way to build power. Deepen your connections with your neighbors. Share stories, host a gathering, attend meetings, or start a Broadband. Determine who has a strong voice in your community, who has influence, who can help you achieve your goals. Get to know your community partners and diversify your constituency.
3. Get Educated
Education is power. Staying updated on the issues you care about is key to being a part of the change, as is helping others learn about issues with which they may not be familiar. Choose an issue or two or three to follow closely to build your knowledge; seek out resources, talking points, and fact sheets. Follow Broads’ Facebook page and that of other conservation organizations for the latest news. Inquire about joining listservs (electronic mailing lists) to stay updated on your key issues. Host events and bring in expert speakers or start a book club. Know both sides of an issue and practice listening and responding. Pay close attention to proposed bills, oil and gas lease sales, and other public land threats.
4. Get Public
Hold people accountable for their decisions. Make your work visible. Take it to the streets, to council meetings, to public gatherings. Contact newspapers, local magazines, and radio and television stations. Tell your story: don’t allow the destruction of wild lands and wilderness to be normalized.
5. Get Organized
What are your goals? Who is with you? Get that advocacy calendar out and start mapping connections and strategies. Where do you start, what is your message, and who will you work with? Make a plan of action and identify the best process to support your actions. Call our office for advice if you want help.
6. Get Out
It has been proven that when people connect with nature, they want to protect it. Get out and explore on your own or bring a whole group of folks out for an adventure. Attend a Broadwalk or Broadwork and bring a friend. Volunteer with your local land management agency or with like-minded organizations. Find stewardship opportunities. Hike with a purpose and learn more about threats faced by the places you love.
7. Get Celebrating
Little wins lead to BIG changes. Shout the wins out! Thank your decision makers, your partners, your friends. We continue to gain momentum and re-energize when we acknowledge the effort, recognize the process, and share gratitude with one another. And always, pause to have some fun!