ROSWELL, Ga. — The newly formed Citizens’ Climate Lobby held its first meeting Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Unitarian Church in Roswell. Over a dozen new members joined, and the group is expecting even more in the next meeting.
“The whole purpose of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is to create political will for a livable world,” said Terry Schiff, who helped create the Roswell chapter. “By ‘political will,’ we’re not talking about politics, because we are a nonpartisan organization. It means that people in the United States want this to happen. For a ‘livable world,’ we mean that we are very concerned about climate change and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We want to make sure that this planet remains livable for a very long time.”
CCL is a national grassroots organization with over 380 chapters across the United States that aims to create a foundation for climate action. The newest chapter, located in Roswell, encompasses the 6th Congressional District and is led by Kate and David Hudson.
“One of our goals is to have a chapter in each congressional district,” Schiff said. “It’s important to have so many chapters everywhere, because congressmen listen to their constituents.”
The group is bipartisan and encourages people on all ends of the political spectrum to get involved. They go to Washington twice a year to lobby on Capitol Hill, where they either meet with staff or members of Congress, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike.
“Our approach above all is respect and appreciation for their service. That is the hallmark of what we teach our volunteers,” Schiff said. “We’ve had some really great responses.”
The group focuses on building relationships with the congressmen and staff to influence change. Schiff recalled how in one of her first meetings in Washington, the group could only meet with a congressman’s staff. But after repeated meetings and discussions, they were able to meet directly with the congressman.
“That’s what happens when you build relationships with people,” Schiff said.
CCL also engages in letter-writing campaigns and encourages members to spread the word about their message, all in an effort to enact change.
“We are a single-issue organization,” Schiff said. “Our specific goal is to get Congress to pass a Carbon Fee and Dividend Legislation.”
The legislation would create a rising price on carbon, and the collected fees would be returned to households as a monthly energy dividend. It has garnered support from both Republicans and Democrats, according to Schiff.
To learn more about CCL and its proposed legislation, visit citizensclimatelobby.org.
Schiff has been with the North Atlanta CCL chapter for over a year.
When asked about what drew her to the organization, Schiff said that it was “the respectfulness toward people who don’t necessarily agree with us.”
The Roswell chapter will meet monthly. To get involved with the chapter, contact Schiff at email@example.com or 770-309-0992.