How to Advocate for the Environment in a Hostile Political Climate

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of thousands of activists. Joining a cause larger than yourself. Marching, demonstrating, protesting. These can all be memorable, exhilarating experiences. And they can help advance the policy issues you care about.

Still, advocates for particular public policies are faced with a challenge: How to harness this "protest power" once the slogans and signs fade? How to move from marching to implementing meaningful legislative or regulatory change? 

The effort to combat polluters and protect the environment is a useful case study for examining this question and developing potential answers.


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Desperately Seeking Your Senators? What to Do When You Can’t Get Through

Americans across the country are reacting to sweeping new federal policies on health care, immigration, the environment and other issues. Those who want to share their views directly with their own elected representatives are frequently faced with a special challenge:

They can't find them.

In the past, town halls held on weekends or congressional recesses gave constituents the chance to talk with the Member of Congress representing their community. But according to a recent LegiStorm analysis, since the election of Donald Trump, the number of face-to-face town halls announced by Republican members of the House and Senate has plummeted.


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New Advocacy Insights to Boost Your Persuasion Power

Last week sizzled with new political developments.

President Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress. Attorney General Sessions recused himself from investigations into Russian manipulation of aspects of last year's presidential election. And President Trump alleged that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower.

This week already is expected to be action-packed: The Trump administration will announce a revised immigrant entry ban today, and the process of repealing Obamacare will begin when the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee and Ways and Means Committee start consideration of repeal legislation.


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How Mick Jagger Can Make You a Better Advocate

Whether you’re pushing forward a priority issue or trying to prevent your favored policy from being rolled back, a high-performing coalition can supercharge your persuasive powers. A diverse team can be a “force multiplier” that infuses more energy, creativity and contacts into your campaign, driving progress towards your advocacy goals more rapidly than possible on your own.

Sounds like a no-brainer: find likeminded individuals or groups, invite them to join your effort and let the advocacy begin!

If only it were that easy.

Although there are many benefits of a team approach to advocacy,


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Want to influence a Member of Congress? There’s a Checklist for That

Rapid-fire policy changes from the Trump White House and Congress are triggering intense efforts to advocate for priorities affected by regulatory and legislative actions.

How should you start your advocacy efforts? What questions do you need to answer before you're off and running?

Trying to influence complicated policy-making processes can seem daunting. But it doesn't have to be.

I put together a a one-page checklist to help you focus on the hot-button "persuasion pressure points" that are the most important factors Members of Congress use in considering whether to support your position (or even meet with you).


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How to Fix 3 Common Communication Mistakes Undermining Your Message

Will you accept my apology?”

Expressing regret, explaining the circumstances, offering possible solutions - each attempt at forgiveness only triggered the next round of irritation and new tries to soothe hard feelings.

This was a classic example of a conversation “going around and around in circles.”

Nothing seemed to work. How to break the cycle?

Then a sudden switch of gears.

A simple “I’m sorry” - offered in the listener’s own native language.

Immediately, the objections stopped. The anger disappeared. 


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6 Tips for Turning Your Idea Into Reality and Getting Results You Want

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Make a difference. Challenge the status quo. Change the world. 

It's graduation season, and commencement speakers at podiums across the country are urging graduates to use their energy and knowledge to improve their communities. 

"Make your city and your world 'greater, better and more beautiful.'"

First Lady Michelle Obama at City College of New York, June 3rd

"[H]ave the courage to stand up and speak up and find a way to get in the way" when you see something that's not fair.

Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis at Washington University in St.


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8 Easy to Follow Ways to Be Heard in Congress

Blog 2 - 8 Easy to Follow Ways - Version 2

Remember Schoolhouse Rock: “I'm just a bill, and I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill..."?

Timeless? Yes.  True to life? Not exactly.

A classic ‘70s PSA aimed at 8-year-olds watching “Scooby Doo" on Saturday morning isn’t intended to be realistic in all respects. That’s not the point.

But in the real world, if you’re looking to Congress to:

  • Approve your policy change
  • Block a proposal you oppose or
  • Fund your pet issue

You don’t necessarily need a “bill on Capitol Hill.”  

And maybe you shouldn’t even want  one.


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Speaking Up Is Hard To Do: How To Beat Your Fear of Public Speaking

Blog 1 - Public Speaking

I was 10-years-old and alone on the stage.

Standing behind a podium looking out at stone-faced judges, I could barely see the rows of boys sitting behind them in the darkness.

The audience was packed into the hall, waiting silently in the hot August night for me to begin speaking.

The topic? "Should the United States Have Boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow".

I took a deep breath and started my speech.

This may sound like one of those stress dreams - you get to class and discover there's an exam you didn't prepare for.


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