National or state/provincial elections often garner the most media and public attention but actually the government that has the most effect on your day-to-day life is the municipal government that occupies your city hall. The municipal government in your city or town makes decisions on everything from parks to garbage collection and recycling to zoning regulations. All of these decisions can have an important effect on decreasing emissions and moving your city or town towards a better climate future.
So how can you influence your mayor and council to make pro-climate decisions, particularly if there is not an election in the near future? Here are some ideas:
- Together with your group of neighbors, the larger the group the better, individually email the mayor and council with a positive story about a pro-climate project from a similar city or town. Offer your support to undertake the same project in your neighborhood.
- With your neighbors, put together a walking tour of your neighborhood where you can look for opportunities for pro-climate projects (i.e. space for a community garden, public facilities like schools or libraries where solar panels could be put on roofs). You can find lots of examples at Project Drawdown.
- Get yourself on the speaker’s list for the next council meeting and present your idea for the pro-climate project you want to see implemented in your neighborhood.
Still feeling a bit intimidated? Here is a useful article featuring Mike Mellross who spent 16 years working within municipal government and now works on the other side of the table as the program director at a climate organization.
As Mike Mellross would say “Show up and speak up”. You might find that once you do it the first time, you’ll be hooked and will soon be more comfortable, not to mention effective, in making the future more climate friendly for your family, friends and neighbors.