How to Influence Political Change

breaze logo145xOur new Board member Joe Natoli has prepared the following easy steps for members to follow when writing to local, state and federal politicians to take action on climate change by transitioning to renewable energy. Joe has provided some good web links for supporting information.

Writing a letter of influence.
How do you truly connect with your Parliamentary representative? Most of us feel that politicians are “out there”. That they are somehow removed from the (real) world and that our views don’t really matter when they are wrestling with big picture issues. Not true. The reality is that politicians want to be, need to be, very aware of how their constituents are thinking because, basically, they want to be re-elected. And if too many people disagree with the decisions their politicians are making – they can quickly lose their seat. The last Victorian election saw this reality sweep away many very disappointed MPs. It resulted in the Liberals losing Malcolm Turnbull’s blue ribbon seat in a by election because many voters just didn’t like what the Liberals were doing on key current issues.

One of the biggest key current political issues is the role of renewable energy in Australia's future. This issue has dominated our political scene for the last 15 years. Essentially it is a struggle between the forces that currently dominate our energy processes – the fossil fuel industry and the reality of rapidly changing technology and the imminent environmental crises being caused by the use of fossil fuels. For the sake of economic good sense and protecting our environment we have to influence politicians from all parties to recognise that coal and oil have had their day and must be now largely retired.
How to write a letter of influence
Let’s not reinvent the wheel here. There is an outstanding “How To” letter writing model on the Climate Council website (see link below). Clear, compelling & direct. All that it lacks for us are some facts about renewable energy that can make your letter zing. So - Why do we need to have a clean renewable energy Australia ASAP ? In no particular order consider the following rationales.
1) Renewable energy is now far cheaper than new coal fired power stations. The evidence is in. The business case is clear. New large scale wind and solar farms produce energy between 20 and 40% cheaper than new coal fired power stations. And as these technologies improve the costs continue to fall. Why would you spend more on assets that will be made redundant?
2) Renewable energy will never run out. Simple isn’t it? We know that fossils fuels are finite. Most studies see the coal and oil reserves being depleted within the lifetime of our children. In what universe does it make sense to base the energy lifeblood of a nation on a resource that is disappearing vs. an energy source that is free and will never cease?
3) Renewable energy creates many more jobs and investment across the community than coal fired power plants.
4) Fossil fuels are turbo charging Global Heating. Scientist are overwhelmingly sure that the excess carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil and gas is driving the record temperatures around the world. They are equally certain that if we don’t immediately and drastically reduce our burning of fossils fuels CC will accelerate to the point where entire ecosystems, including humanity, will be threatened. We have to say ‘enough is enough.’
5) Coal fired power stations use a truckload of water. The cooling towers, evaporation ponds and general operational needs require water consumption equivalent to a medium size city. How can we continue to use water in this way when a cost effect alternative is at hand?
6) Coal and other fossil fuels kill millions of people through direct pollution. The fine coal particulates emitted by coal fired power station kill millions of people a year. That doesn’t include the effects of other dangerous pollutants inc. mercury and heavy metals from these industries. And it doesn’t include damages and deaths caused by ash and water pollution.

Individual, thoughtful letters make a real impact on our representatives in Parliament. The reality is that each letter that arrives represents at least 100 people’s thoughts. Making the effort to write and following up on talking to your local member will make a difference.

Reference Website Links:

Climate Council How to Write an Effective Letter
Economics of Renewables
Water Use of Coal Fired Plants
Overview Advantages of Renewables
Effects Of Coal Fired Power Stations on Health