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Clean Air Cities:
A Step-by-step Guide to Get Your City on Board

Together, our towns and cities can save the Clean Air Act and push the Environmental Protection Agency to ambitiously and rapidly harness the power of this critical law to tackle the global warming juggernaut. Toward this goal, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute wants to work with you to get your city council to pass a resolution in support of the EPA using the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million and save our planet from climate catastrophe.

This is a quick step-by-step guide to get your city on board. Of course, nothing works all the time, and we’re happy to talk with you about these strategies and others and support you each step of the way. Interested? We hope so.

Please contact Climate Campaign Director Rose Braz at rbraz@biologicaldiversity.org or (415) 436-9682 x 319 with any questions and to let us know about your progress in your city.

Step 1: Identify a likely sponsor or champion for the resolution in your city government.
You can often do this through simple research about your city council members or mayor. Often, a city government’s web page has a short biography on each city council member — which can tell you a lot. Some cities have commissions or boards that focus specifically on environment or public health issues, in which case you can start with a member of that board. And some cities have specific entities charged with protecting the environment or even working specifically on global warming, such as offices that work to implement a city’s climate action plan. Those are great places to start.

If you need more help with this step, let us know.

Step 2: Reach out to the person or persons you’ve identified as possible champions.
We’ve provided a sample cover letter for you to simply paste into an email after adapting it to your city and filling in the blanks. We also suggest attaching the sample resolution we’ve drawn up.

As with most endeavors like this, an email isn’t typically enough to get something moving. We’ve found that follow-up calls — maybe many calls — are often necessary.

Step 3: Mobilizing and/or asking for an in-person meeting.
Still getting nowhere? The Center can help you connect with other volunteer Clean Air Advocates, and you can also reach out to friends and family in your city and ask them to call and email the council staff member you’ve identified as a good champion for your cause — and your colleagues can even go with you to in-person meetings with your identified city staff member. The Center can help you set up meetings and prepare for them. We also have sample talking points to help you.

Step 4: After the resolution is moving forward, we can work with you and council staff to develop a resolution that everyone is pleased with and to mobilize others in your city to send emails of support, make calls, get a good turnout to the city council meeting at which the resolution will be up for a vote and/or sign an organizational letter of support for the resolution.

Step 5: Press and thank-yous. Once you’ve helped achieve the amazing task of passing a city resolution, the Center can put out a press release announcing its passage, with quotes from you and/or the council people who backed it — and we also have sample letters to the editor you can draw from to help bring local media attention to the issue. And of course, you’ll want to send letters thanking any elected representatives who sponsored and voted for the resolution.

Photo © Robin Silver