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I'm a bit overwhelmed. What is the most important thing I can do for the planet?

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Civic engagement and advocacy is the single most important activity you can do. Jen Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council explains how you can take action. Here are four easy things that you can do to help us save the planet.

  1. Get to know your lawmakers. If you don’t know or can’t remember your state lawmakers, it’s easy and quick to find them by clicking here. Use Google to learn more about them and the issues they care about most. Follow them on social media. Sign up for their email list and go to their town halls (bring a friend). Introduce yourself and ask questions about the issues you care about most.

  2. Get to know your neighbors. Not only is knowing your neighbors one of the most important factors in determining whether you’ll survive a catastrophic weather event, it may end up being an incredibly important factor in whether we can pass laws that will reduce carbon emissions and prevent climate catastrophe. That’s because relationships are everything in politics and organizing. If your lawmaker won’t meet with you, knowing your neighbors is a good way to find someone in your community that may know your lawmaker or may be there to help in an election if your lawmaker isn’t voting the right way on environmental issues.

  3. Get to know your advocates. There is a lobbyist for just about every interest. Finding yours will make your work easier and more effective. The Illinois Environmental Council is a coalition, or a sort of “trade association”, that represents over 90 different environmental organizations in Illinois with collectively more than a half million members. Reach out to us and we can help you find ways to get plugged in with these groups who will make taking action easy for you on the environmental issues you are interested in working on. You can check out our list of affiliate members here.

  4. Take action. We send out several opportunities to take action on important bills throughout the legislative session. They are called Action Alerts and I encourage you to always take them by filling out those forms that automatically send an email to your lawmaker. If you want to go the extra mile, consider sending a personalized email or calling your lawmaker about the bills we flag in our Action Alerts. Or even better, get to know your lawmaker and develop a relationship with them. Come to lobby day and join all of the other folks demonstrating the power of our community to our lawmakers.

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