Letter Writing Event in Your Community
For this challenge, you will host a letter writing event in your community to lobby the government on an important environmental issue.
This challenge involves civic engagement. By voting, taking a stance on ocean issues or supporting organizations lobbying for watershed protection, you are an engaged citizen. Our Ocean Bridge Cohort is an important demographic that can influence politics. Have you tried getting involved?
For your Ocean Bridge service, you can help gather your community and amplify voices on ocean issues. Are you interested helping shape ocean policy? Would you like to lobby your city council to ban plastic bags like in Victoria, BC? Do you want to join a campaign to encourage the federal government to meet its conservation targets by 2020?
Letter writing is effective as a conservation tool. By writing a letter, you effectively engage with newspapers, politicians and the greater public.
Here is what you need to do:
BEFORE YOUR EVENT
- Find a date, time and location for your letter writing event. Look at community centers or even a local cafe!
- Choose a topic that you would like to write letters about. There are so many issues that it's easy to get overwhelmed! Pick 1 or 2 topics and focus on those. For example:
- Write to restaurants and stores asking them to reduce their single use plastic
- Write to the federal government asking them to meet their conservation targets
- Write to your provincial and federal governments about the importance of marine protected areas
- Write to your municipal and provincial government about a local conservation issue you are passionate about
- Write to local, provincial and national newspapers sharing your point of view. Here are some tips for letters to the editor.
- Gather your materials: You will need paper (preferably lined), pens, envelopes, stamps (if necessary) and addresses. Participants can also bring their computers to write emails. Ensure you have the background information for the issues available for people to reference (ex. key points that each letter should discuss). Print out letter writing tips and letter templates. Consider bringing refreshments to keep people energized.
- Talk to your Ocean Bridge Coordinator. As a representative of Ocean Wise, we would like to know what you are writing about!
- Use the Communications Plan Template to develop a communications strategy. Contact the Ocean Bridge Communication Coordinator to connect you with local media outlets.
- Market your event! Invite friends, family and members of the community to attend. Spread the word through social media, and community meetings, or in person.
DURING YOUR EVENT
- Set up your event. Ensure each table has all of the required materials. If providing refreshments, ensure that they are ready.
- Welcome your participants. Give the group a brief overview of the topics you are focusing on and helpful letter writing tips. If it is a drop-in event, keep your eye out for people who come in later.
- Write your letters! Short is better (less than 150 words). Look at these helpful letter writing tips. You can write letters to:
- Politicians (Municipal, Provincial and Federal). NOTE: Letters to the federal government do not require postage
- Businesses (Stores, restaurants etc.)
- Be active on social media using our hashtags #OceanBridge #LeadersToday and tag @OceanWise @leaderstoday and @SocDevSoc on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Tag the organizations and/or politicians whom you are writing to.
- Thank your participants for coming and discuss next steps. Be prepared to receive responses to your letters. Consider meeting again at a later date to discuss follow-up action. Is is possible to meet with your MP or MLA about the topic?
AFTER YOUR EVENT
- Send the letters! Useful addresses can be found here.
- Share your experience! Tag your service on our Ocean Service Activities map. Take photos and share them on our community space gallery, write a blog or post about your experience on the discussion board.
Ready to take it to the next level?
Host a letter writing event followed by a visit with your MP or MLA. Engage your community through town hall meetings. Consider partnering with a local organization for your event!
Want to do something a little simpler?
- Improve your research and writing skills by drafting clear, concise letters that address issues in a compelling way.
- Host an event that engages a wide spectrum of people on a common issue.
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