Citizen volunteers bring a commitment to good faith, hard work, and common-sense future-building to Capitol Hill.
600 Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers have gathered in Washington, DC, and will be holding hundreds of meetings today on Capitol Hill. Yesterday, in a high-level session of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, this news was applauded by the full room, including leaders in business, government and advocacy, from around the world.
That one ovation from the diplomatic room, which included American stakeholders and leaders, was meant to honor the hard work and conscientious citizenship of people doing their best to make sure the US adopts a responsible, effective climate policy.
On Sunday, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, told the Summit of Local and Regional Leaders that “There is no conservative air or liberal air; we all breathe the same air.” He also said from a governor’s perspective, “When there is a fire, which can kill people, you don’t wait for politics or diplomacy to work; you put out the fire.”
This, he said, is how we have to treat climate change: as non-partisan, urgent, and common-sense. It is a threat to human wellbeing, and to the nation itself; that threat needs to be dealt with aggressively, inclusively, and with collaborative imaginative problem solving.
CCL volunteers treat the issue this way. It is a moral imperative to solve this worsening crisis, to prevent future harm and cost, and to ensure the country they love—and which has a natural leadership role across the world—innovates at the speed necessary to lead the building of the future economy.
This year, the COP23 features an increased emphasis on the role of non-Party stakeholders (all levels of government that are not UN Climate Convention member states, as well as businesses and civil society). Local ground-truthing and direct policy design collaboration are set to become a standard for climate action across the world.
Citizens talking to government have a new and more powerful role in the global process. CCL’s visit to Capitol Hill is an opportunity for the US Congress to empower actors across the US to build a smart clean future economy that leaves behind the problematic inefficiencies and public health threats of the one we have now.
The US Congress is a convening of emissaries from local communities across the United States. Everyone there is sworn to serve those they represent, not only well but also honorably. While political courage is always need for substantial change, that honor is also expressed in the kind of non-partisan mutual support CCL volunteers are looking to foster among their representatives.
The view from Bonn is that the United States is the most capable, innovative, daring national economy, and also the most resilient democratic system, making it the natural place for bold leadership on this global challenge. Citizens and lawmakers together can not only safeguard the integrity of participatory civics, but also the future we leave to our grandchildren.
While we work to open the UN process to stakeholders and ensure the best ideas always get into the room, we send a message of gratitude and encouragement both the hundreds of CCL volunteers going to Capitol Hill and to the lawmakers and legislative staff they will meet with. The world is looking to you for principled, good-faith action and leadership.