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Below is a guest blog post from former NWEI staffer, Daniella Dennenberg, who now is the Portland Program Director for HEART, whose mission is to foster compassion and respect for all living beings and the environment by educating youth and teachers in humane education. One way she takes action on behalf of the environment is through a personal practice of letter writing to legislators or individuals in decision-making roles, as well as sharing this practice with students. She urges the NWEI community to remember the power of continuing the conversations started in discussion courses via letter writing.

I’ve been writing to legislators and individuals in decision-making roles since high school (for over twenty years). I believe it is one of the most powerful and effective means of using my voice as an engaged citizen. Some of the very first letters I wrote back then were to large companies like Procter and Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive who (continue to) test household and personal care products on thousands of animals a year…

 As a humane educator with Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART), it is my responsibility to empower young people with tools to affect change on their communities. Students often feel disempowered or disheartened when they learn about animal cruelty, environmental destruction or human rights abuses. Over the years HEART students have written hundreds of letters to everyone from the president of the United States to the heads of large corporations. Whether asking for better laws to protect the environment, or for companies to stop using sweatshops, letters have always been a premiere form of advocacy that can be done for the cost of a piece of paper, pencil and a stamp. Or these days, even a simple email…

While (so far) President Obama hasn’t personally responded to any of the letters sent by our students, the higher-ups in major companies like Wal-Mart and Hershey’s have taken the time to write back thanking students for their input and applauding them for being engaged citizens. Through letter writing, students learn that they have a voice that can be used to make the world better for others...

My hope is that as environmental advocates, you incorporate letter writing into your repertoire of tools and use it as a means of creating sustainable change. Start conversations about the issues that matter most to you!

Letter writing is a great follow up action to any of NWEI’s 12 discussion courses.

*HEART recently did a piece about letter writing as well: http://teachhumane.org/heart/2013/01/23/humane-activity-the-many-benefits-of-letter-writing/

 

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