Most of what I hear from the media and my community is that we can each do our own part to live sustainably and that at the end of the day, it still won’t be enough.
This is true. Although it is paramount that we each change our personal ways of life into something much more sustainable, this alone will not be enough. We also need big corporations to change how they do things and we need them to do it immediately. Seriously, friends, like yesterday.
When I heard that, it made me feel even more hopeless. These corporations clearly are not going to do it themselves and I had no idea how to even begin to have an influence on big business and politics. I called up my brother to see if we could brainstorm any possible solutions or contributions to saving this planet and our children’s futures. He thankfully had an answer that was already in full motion and far more organized and effective than I had expected.
He had just joined CCL, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. This community of citizens is a well-organized, politically savvy, educational movement, which takes what once felt impossible and overwhelming, to incredibly plausible and inspiring. CCL is both an intimate and national movement. They hold monthly national virtual meetings open to all CCL members, as well as meetings among individual communities. This allows the opportunity for each citizen to actually build relationships and bond with local members in their own town. Each member may attend and interact as much or as little as they like according to their own needs, and most of this work can be done from absolutely anywhere.
This broad-spectrum approach breeds inspiration, accountability and empowerment, which I feel are truly the foundation of their quickly successful results. Not all of us are born activists or extroverts. However, this system allows even the least familiar climate lobbyists, such as myself, to find a way to make change that feels resonant with their own unique gifts and limitations. I have only just stepped into CCL, and here I am writing an article for a newspaper about it, which is quite out of character for me. I am inspired to say the least.
I believe that the roots of great change lie in our ability to empower each other to step up and speak out in our own ways. This, combined with actual strategy and organization, is a hope that I had thought to be lost previously. Climate change is the most urgent issue we are all facing right now. That is a powerful statement when we glance at the current state of the world. We all know there is so much to do. However, no matter our efforts in life, if we keep moving in the direction we are headed environmentally, the children won’t have an inhabitable planet to live on anymore. Plain and simple. There is still time, but the time is now.
CCL’s current priority is national legislation to implement a carbon pricing and dividend policy that would charge the fossil fuel companies a fee, from which payouts would then be sent back directly to the citizens, you and me. This dividend ensures that any inflation that would occur as a result of carbon pricing will be sufficiently restored to citizens, protecting low- and middle-income communities. This is one of the most quick and effective solutions out there and will create the kind of change we need in order to avoid catastrophic and irreversible damage to our planet.
Please join us! CCL is the most approachable organization I have ever been a part of. Take a quick peek at their mission on citizensclimatelobby.org. You can dive in head first and join a meeting, or simply test the waters by signing up for the updates on monthly letters and calls to your senators and representatives.
You have agency. You have power. More importantly, you are not alone in this. None of us are. Join us to save our planet that we call home, please. We would love to have you.
Cara Allison lives in Santa Clarita and is a member of the Santa Clarita chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.