There are a lot of “hands in the pot” when it comes to public and environmental policy decisions. Laws are influenced by everything from economic conditions to lobbying and political activity. Environmental policy can also be influenced by…YOU. Here’s how you can bring about important change:
Make Your Voice Heard. The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency offers many support programs for state and local governments. Your local policymakers can put in place laws that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut air pollution, increase recycling, and everything in between. But they need to know that these values are important to you. Write to your elected representatives! Here’s how to reach them.
Help Change Public Opinion. Public opinion and priorities have major influence on governmental policy over time. If there is an environmental cause that you’re particularly passionate about, chances are, there’s an organization or business association that’s working on it. If not, well, why not start one? Get involved through elections, citizen rallies and communication campaigns to reach elected decision makers.
Lead By Example – Live What You Preach! A recent study by Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability found that pro-environmental behaviors like recycling and water conservation could influence pro-environmental values. The idea is that repeated behavior can become second nature and a part of a larger value system. If your community creates the demand for, say, recycling programs (and contacts your local representatives about the need!), then you can affect real change.