How to Take Action
Our wildlife and wildlands are in extreme danger and it’s literally up to us to save them. If we don’t take action, we are as guilty as those exploiting them and we run a very real risk of seeing many beloved creatures become extinct in our lifetime. It’s shocking, but there is something you can do. Take action!
Below are ways that you can make an impact and tips to guide you step by step. Let’s go!
VISIT YOUR LEGISLATORS
It was only this year that Apex Executive Director Paula Ficara and Apex Lead of Advocacy Jan Medema began visiting local legislators personally. For many, it can be intimidating, and for Paula and Jan – it was! But after entering their offices, being greeted warmly, and being given undivided attention to their concerns, Paula and Jan left feeling empowered, respected and heard. This is one of, if not the most powerful ways to make your voice heard and we encourage you to do it. Click here for a few easy steps in making an appointment and putting your best foot forward…
• Who are your local legislators?
o For your House Representative:
o First, go to https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and enter your zip code in the provided box. You may be asked for more information to determine who your representative is.
o Once entered, your representative will come up with their address and link to their personal website.
o For your US Senator: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
o For your State Senator and State Assemblymember: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
NOTE: A state senator is to the governor of that state as a US Senator is to the President. A state senator is strictly involved with the running of the state and passing state laws, whereas a US senator is involved with passing laws that affect every person in the country. Not all states have Assemblymembers
• How do I schedule an appointment with them?
o All of their contact information is on their website. The simplest thing to do is start by emailing them your request to meet with them. Tell them who you are and what your concern is that you would like to discuss.
o It may take a while to hear back from them so give it a little time. Remember, they have a lot on their plate. After several days, email them again checking in to see if they received your previous email. It could take a few times before they are able to connect with you so don’t get frustrated. Just keep trying.
o To meet with your US Senator: Once determining your US Senator/s, visit their website/s for their local office in your area. There, you will be able to make an appointment with one of their field officers who will report the information shared in your meeting directly to the Senator.
• Now that my appointment is scheduled, how do I prepare?
Generally, you will be given 15-20 minutes to speak so it’s good to have your talking points ready and to have rehearsed them a few times in case you get a little nervous in the moment.
WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS
If you are unable to meet face to face with your legislators, the next best thing is to write a letter and send it by snail mail. These letters tend to be read first and taken into greater consideration. Visit the links above to find out who your legislators are and their contact info.
EMAIL OR CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS
Sometimes life gets overwhelming but you still want to make a difference. Writing a brief email or making a phone call to your legislators is still effective. Usually when you call, an assistant answers the phone and takes your message or you will go to voicemail where you can leave your message. In these cases, simply state what you want: “I am a constituent of [ ] and I’m calling to ask Senator [ ] to fight to keep economics out of the decision-making process of listing a species on the ESA.” Simple as that. Visit the links above to find out who your legislators are and their contact info.
WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Did you know that the Letters to the Editor (LTE) section in a newspaper is read more than any other section except the front page? It’s an incredibly effective way to get your message out there and it’s easy to do. Our friends at Project Coyote (http://www.projectcoyote.org) have put together some amazing tips for getting your letter printed. Click HERE to get started!
ATTEND A PUBLIC HEARING or TOWN MEETING
Public Hearings are held to allow the public to weigh in on a decision before the committee reviewing it makes a recommendation to the “legislative authority”. Public hearings can be very powerful when enough people show up and show their support or lack of. If you attend a hearing, make sure you sign up to make a comment. To find public hearings in your area, check your local municipality website - they often have public meeting and hearing schedules, and downloadable meeting agendas listed. One site to help you do that is https://www.usa.gov/local-governments
Here’s a great article to help you prepare: 5 Steps to Speaking at Public Hearings or a Town Meeting by Activism Trainer Stephanie Coxe https://resistbot.news/5-steps-to-public-hearings-ac0de2fc044e
Finally, signing petitions is always a great way to participate in making change “on the fly”. It literally takes seconds and can be a powerful tool when presented to the legislators to make a point. Many organizations will post petitions on their websites or on social media.