Being politically engaged is more than voting in the Presidential elections. Being politically active means participating in your town/city’s elections and understanding your local government. This blog post gives an overview as to how eco-advocates can be more politically engaged within their community. I’m a firm believer that in order for environmental change to happen governments must prioritize and implement new policy and law that holds businesses and countries accountable for the pollution and destruction being caused––especially when data shows that it’s not individuals who are doing the most harm, but large corporations and certain countries contributing to increasingly high and alarming global emissions.

What Type Of Loal Government Do You Have?

One of the most important questions to ask and better understand is what type of local government you have. This is usually outlined on your town/city’s website with a brief overview of what this means. If there aren’t additional details available, Google is your best friend to understand more about your town and the same with the city/town Hall. Utilize the resources and people there and get in touch to learn more about your home.

Questions to consider:

  • How often are members voted in/appointed to their roles? What is the process?
  • When is the next election?
  • How often are local meetings? Are these meeting sessions available online or only in person?
  • Where can you read the minutes (record) of the past meetings?

Who Is Your Mayor?

  • Could you recognize them if you passed on the street?
  • Is your mayor vocal about environmental issues? To what extent?
  • Can you list the mayor’s current environmental agenda and political focus?
  • Do you know where to find out who your mayor is and their political focus?

Who Are The Members Of Local Government?

  • Besides the mayor, who is in charge of the local government?
  • How many of the local government roles can you list? And what do they actually do?
  • Who is on the environmental team?
  • Who makes the policy and amends it?
  • How is the environmental team and their projects regulated?
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What Is Your Local Environmental Policy?

Oftentimes the environmentalists I speak to are so focused on large-scale change at the national level, that they forget to look at what is going on in their town or city. I encourage you to be aware of what’s happening in your hometown and advocate for change there too.

Questions to consider:

  • Is there a priority to reachin net-zero? By when?
  • What can and can’t be recycled in your area? How is that communicated to residents? When are the updates for this released?
  • Where can residents and businesses learn about local greenhouse gas emissions? How often is this reported on?

What Do You Consider To Be A Succesful Council Leader/Local Government Official?

Your vote is an extension of your voice. If your government allows for public voting, take advantage of the opportunity to replace the members who are not following through and doing their job.

Questions to consider:

  • How have you or will you let your officials know your stance on environmental issues?
  • What’s your plan for connecting and staying in touch?
  • What environmental action points do you want and need your local government to prioritize?

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