| Ideas for action: Save, recycle and do not pollute |
Here are some sustainable efforts you and your community can do to protect and preserve the environment:
· Have full information about the problem you are organizing around. Whether it is information on polluters or environmental problems that affect your community -- get the facts. Know who owns, or is responsible for, the resulting pollution or industrial wastes being emitted by a certain corporation or which government agency has given the go-signal for its establishment.
- Access all available information sources. Check local newspapers, city hall, planning boards, local libraries, public records and all local, -provincial and national agencies.
- If the information is complex or scientific, con suit experts. Contact universities, investigative reporters (who may have contacted experts), local environmental groups, local environmental attorneys or sympathetic local government scientists.
· Write a simple fact sheet. Have available for organizing and the media a simple fact sheet describing your problem and the sources of your information. This increases credibility with the public, the media and the elected officials.
· Establish goals. After obtaining and analyzing information, establish goals. These can include stopping a government project or taking legal action, or simply drawing attention to a local polluter. Remember: in practicing environmental democracy, your group must together plan corrective campaigns; carry out or execute the planned actions; evaluate; and, take the next best steps. DIRECT ACTION GETS RESULTS.
· Find an appropriate name for your organization. Try to make it positive (i.e., not Citizen's against the Chico Dam but rather Citizen's for the Chico River).
· Build your local organization. Go from door to door to get more activists for your group. Use the media to publicize your efforts. Your core group should build a community group with large numbers of members. Examples of initial activities may include public meetings, demonstrations, petition drives, letter writing campaigns, etc.
· Network with other organizations with similar goals. The more diverse a coalition, the more powerful a constituency. Also, experience (and expenditures) can be shared.
· Meet with targetted polluter(s) or elected official(s). Once you have a sizable following (50-500 members) and some working communities, hold a neighborhood or town meeting and be sure to invite executives or officials from the offending company, sugar central, open pit mine, coal-fired plant or alcohol plant. The same applies to local officials.
· For corporate targetting, negotiate and implement a Good Neighbor Agreement --Having officials at a neighborhood accountability session can get them to begin a course of action resulting in a Good Neighbor Agreement.
A Good Neighbor Agreement, in its simplest form, is a contract between a corporation and a citizens' group where the corporation agrees to change a product or a process. These agreements result in pollution-prevention measures more stringent than those required under environmental laws.
Ideas for Action:
A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992