New And Precise Message To The President Of The United States
In a democratic society, our elected representatives have a duty to listen to their constituents’ opinions. One of the most effective ways to make your opinion heard is to write a letter. A typed or hand-written letter carries the most weight with any recipient, more than an email or signing a petition.
- Students in this class have a powerful voice in the issue of climate change. This is due, in part, to the following reasons:
- After completing the previous lesson plans on climate change science and policy you know more about the issue than most people.
- Your knowledge of the issue will allow you to write a well-informed and persuasive letter.
- You are young, and climate mitigation decisions being made right now will affect the rest of your life.
- You are able to vote. Decision makers know the millennial youth are developing a strong voice and are becoming involved in civic life more than the generations before them.
In international climate negotiations, your voice can make a difference at many different locations in the government. For example:
- The President sets the general course.
- The State Department and its Special Envoy for Climate Change take a leadership role in the negotiations.
- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee reviews any potential treaties.
- Congress must ratify any treaties before they become law.
START By Finding out who you want to address the letter to, find the contact information for your local Senator or Congress person.
Or if you prefer you may address your letter to:
The President of the United States, and ultimately might be the most important office to communicate with.
The address is:
The President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
To complete this assignment:
- Review their journals from the previous lessons.
- Read the below instructions on: Crafting a Position Statement
- Identify the issues and ideas about which they feel most strongly.
- Choose from two issues: NEW TECHNOLOGIES or CARBON TAX
- DO YOUR RESEARCH ON THE ISSUE. HANDOUTS ARE ATTACHED FOR EACH ISSUE TO HELP YOU GET STARTED.
- Decide on an appropriate recipient for the letter.
- Craft a position statement letter.
- Students will submit the letters online to receive credit for the assignment. (the opinions expressed are not the subject of grading—each student is entitled to his or her own opinion).
- Students can choose to address their letters and mail them. (OPTIONAL)
CRAFTING A POSITION STATEMENT
How should decision makers approach the issue of climate change? This is your chance to weigh in. Decide whom you would like to address.
The following tips will help you write a powerful letter to a decision maker:
- Keep it short. Limit your letter to one page and one issue.
- Identify yourself and the issue ( NEW TECHNOLOGIES or CARBON TAX) . In the first paragraph of your letter state who you are and what issue you are writing about.
- Focus on your main points. Choose the three strongest points to support your argument and develop them clearly. Too much information can distract from your position.
- Make it personal. Tell your decision maker why the issue matters to you and how it affects you, your family, and your community. Make a connection to the elected official. Did you vote for him or her? Did you contribute to the campaign?
- Ask for a reply. Include your name and address on your letter. Trust your voice. Be polite and take a firm position in your letter. Be confident in your understanding of the issue and remember that the official may know less than you. Thank elected officials when they make a decision the way you want.
Your position can be based on personal opinion, but it must be supported with specific evidence and examples. Use at least three pieces of supporting evidence for each point. This indicates you have a good understanding of the topic. It also makes a case for why your position is valid.
Before starting to write, review your notes. Decide on a focus for your letter. Pick your top three points. Make an outline of your letter. Decide which three supporting statements you will use for each.
While giving your group members feedback on their letters, focus on how they can make their letter stronger (for example, by better organization, stronger examples, fewer run-on sentences, including more of a personal connection, etc.). This is not a time to criticize your classmates’ opinions. Every person is entitled to his or her own opinions about how society should respond to climate change.