I was inspired by the editorial board column urging the University to take greater institutional action in the fight against climate change. The Council rightly points out that while individual action is meaningful, “it is the institutions that are capable of bringing about the changes we so desperately need”. The University is indeed an important institution whose actions can contribute to creating the economic and political will that we undoubtedly need on this issue.
Additionally, as students and faculty leave Grounds for the summer, it’s helpful to remember other institutional leaders they can influence, whether they’re on campus or not — their members of Congress.
Like university leaders, politicians are influenced by those they serve. Calling or writing your members of Congress only takes a few moments, and it’s one of the most important and empowering choices you can make to create robust climate solutions. If you’re nervous or don’t know where to start, like me, organizations like Citizen lobby for the climate provide extremely helpful resources, regardless of your political experience or location. And for such an effective action, it does not take much time. Spending just one hour of your summer vacation on the phone or writing — that’s just 20 minutes a month — can have a significant impact.
One of the first steps you can take to fight climate change is to talk to those with the power to shape solutions. As the Council points out, institutions can make the biggest difference, but they are most likely to act when they hear from the people they serve. This summer, make your voice heard.
Catherine Epstein is a writer and educator, and a volunteer with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.