Local government is almost more important than the federal government. If you want to start seeing change fast, this is where you need to start.
But, it seems scary right? Like how do you even get started? I'm going to break it down into some super simple steps.
It’s day thirty of the zero waste challenge! We only have ONE. DAY. MORE! Can you believe it!?
Now, we’re into the third phase of the challenge. The activism phase. The phase where you get to get a little outside of yourself and work on bringing change at a whole new level.
Today I’m challenging you to get involved in your local government….
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People just aren’t stepping up and harnessing the power they have! My generation has an appalling voter turn out and I can’t imagine that our rate for getting involved in local government is any better.
Today, I’m going to show you a few ways that you can start creating waves in your town.
I’m going to offer you several solutions to becoming more politically active.
1. get behind a cause and bring it to your city council:
With the group you found in yesterday’s challenge, consider backing a bill like a straw ban or bag ban. You can also try and organize a city wide cleanup that’s recurring every year and hosted by the city.
To find out how to get a bill in front of your city council check out my blog post How to Get Involved with Local Government.
2. start a petition:
Ever wonder why you always see people collecting signatures? What are they going to do with all of them? There are three different types of petitions.
ballot initiative: this is a piece of legislation that will be up for vote on the ballot. If the community is on your side, but you don’t think city council would pass your idea - this is where you go! Creating this petition doesn’t enact the law, it just puts it on the ballot and the citizens of your town will decide whether or not it should be passed on election day.
non-binding referendum: This doesn’t result in any type of voting. It is only used to show support in favor or against a certain law. It basically advises the city council and shows them how the general population of the town is feeling towards a certain issue.
binding referendum: This tries to change the laws whether to have a vote repealed or to suspend an elected official etc.
Your city and town will have an official way of dealing with petitions. You need to file your petition in accordance with their rules, so be sure to head over to your local .gov to read up!
Are you registered to vote? Double check in case you don’t know. Then make sure you vote. Not just for president but for all of your local elections. It’s incredibly important who you appoint to your city council.
Here’s some great websites to help you choose candidates that align with your values and a great website to help you choose impartial judges. It’s a judges job to interpret the laws not legislate from the bench.
4. join a lobby:
I can’t recommend joining the Citizens Climate Lobby enough. It’s a great organization that advocates for a fair carbon tax.
If you’re looking to get in touch with your representatives and advocate for the Earth, then this is the organization for you.
5. run for office:
People tend to look at me like I have three eyes when I say this, but you should run for office! If you have good ideas and care about your town, why not you?
If you’re looking to get started check out She Should Run. It’s a site dedicated to helping female candidates run for office. Also check with your state party headquarters. Depending on where you live, they might be looking for candidates to back.
You can always volunteer with local state party as well. I have spent many a day at the DPA (Democratic Party of Arkansas) phone banking and canvassing for candidates.
take the challenge!
It’s time to get involved with your local government.
I challenge you to sign up for the CCL and make sure that you’re registered to vote today.
My second challenge is for you to pick a pet project. Is that a bag ban? Straw ban? Have businesses start charging for takeout containers instead of having them included in the price? Is it hosting a city wide clean up?
Whatever your pet project is, I want you to work with the group you just found and create an action plan to bring it to a vote this next year.
Are you up for the challenge?
Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.
I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.
PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.