Tips on Writing a Publishable Letter to the Editor about an environmental problem

Take action or advocate an action! Write a letter to the editor for extra credit or to make-up an absence! Here are some tips how from the Earth Day Network News:

Tips on how to write your own Opinion Editorial or
Letter to the Editor and get it published!

Letters to the editor are an easy and effective way for us to voice our opinion to policy makers, corporations and the general public on the negative impacts of climate change. You can use letters to correct or interpret facts in response to inaccuracies, statements by corporations or government officials, to explain the connection between the news story and your priority issues, or to praise or criticize an article. The letters section is one of the most frequently read segments of newspapers.

Know your paper’s policy
Find out the newspaper’s policy for printing letters. Some have word limits and all require that you include your name, address and phone number. Your address and phone number will not be printed, but most publications will want to call you before they print your letter to confirm that you really did write the letter and that you want to have it published.

Keep it simple
Keep your points short and clear, and stick to one subject. If you focus on one specific issue, you’ll already have an edge on the writer who thinks they will be able to fill up their letter with a laundry list of details. Also, stick to commonly used terms and avoid jargon. Connect to basic values such as clean water and healthy communities.

Make your letter short
Make your first sentence short, compelling and catchy. Be direct and engaging. Try to hold each sentence to a minimum of 20 words. Your whole letter should ideally be a maximum of 150 words. No more than four paragraphs total, two paragraphs is best.

Get personal
Newspapers, at their core, are community entities. Editors will be much more likely to publish a letter, and the letter will have much more impact, if it demonstrates local relevance. The tips below are especially relevant if you are submitting a letter to the editor to your local paper.

Use local statistics. For example, a letter focusing on climate change should point out what is at stake in your local area.

Use personal stories. For example, if you or someone in your family relies on agriculture to make a living, for example, you should talk about your experience in a letter to the editor addressing your concerns about how climate change will affect the industry.

Use names to encourage action. If a letter to the editor mentions a Representative or Senator’s name, they will see it as their aides comb through all of the press in their district. They care about how they are being perceived in the district, and they will pay attention to a letter that asks them to take a specific action. You should also urge readers to support your position and to let their elected officials know their views<!– (please visit our resources page to see how to contact your local representative).–>

Use your credentials. If you have expertise in the area you are writing about, be sure to include that information even though it may not be printed in your letter.Y

Earth Network News

Earth Day 2008 is shaping up to be the biggest yet! We are approaching our goal of 1,000 campus events! From the national Mall in Washington DC, and major events in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, & Miami to millions participating in the Call for Climate. From Togo to Buenos Aires people are mobilizing to make their voices heard this Earth Day.

On Earth Day, April 22nd, you can help send a loud and clear message to Congress. Help get as many concerned people as you can to call Congress at 202-224-3121 to tell their Representative or Senator that they want tough action on climate change.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • On Earth Day, organize volunteers on your campus to help generate calls to congress. Use banners, tables, posters, or fliers to encourage people to call while walking between classes. Ask your professors to allow you to make an announcement before class or get there early and write a message on the board.
  • Contribute an op-ed to your campus or local newspaper. We have templates for you to use so all you’ll have to do is fill in the local details and submit. Contact your regional organizer for help or for a copy of the template.
  • Hand-deliver one of our celebrity PSA’s to your campus or local radio station. By hand delivering a copy, you will greatly improve the odds that it will be played!

Current options include:

  • Collect signatures for Earth Day Network’s Sky Petition.

Earth Day network wants you to have Live Earth short films at your Earth Day event! Live Earth will send you a special DVD produced only for Earth Day event organizers – it will have a selection of 8 of the Live Earth short films. Sign up here by April 17th and you’ll receive a free DVD in the mail in time for Earth Day!Ear

VC Earth Action Day W. April 23, 2008

If You Want to Do One Thing on Earth Day: CALL FOR CLIMATE!

Global warming is our most urgent environmental problem: The time for waiting and inadequate solutions is over. On Earth Day, April 22nd, join Earth Day Network in our global Call for Climate by contacting your national leaders and demanding bold, swift and fair action to tackle climate change. And from now until Earth Day, take action and sign Earth Day Network’s Sky Petition.

Buy the Earth Day 2008 poster on our site!
Buy the official Earth Day 2008 poster here.

If you are in the United States, help us generate one million phone calls to Congress on April 22nd. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representatives. Tell them the current global warming proposals in Congress are inadequate. Tell them you want:– A moratorium on new coal-burning plants,

– Renewable energy,

– Carbon-neutral buildings,

– Protection for the poor and middle class in the new green economy.

Tell five friends about this campaign – have them enter the Capitol number into their phones now. And make sure they call on Earth Day, April 22nd!

This Earth Day, it’s time to change the forecast for global warming.

With Earth Day less than 2 months away, we want to break all the records! We are aiming to register 20,000 events this year, and we can’t do it without you! If you have some spare time and a computer with internet connection, and would to help us, register at our Volunteer Center or contact Michele Ditto at Together we can make this the biggest Earth Day yet!


Visit Earth Day TV!

Don’t miss our interview with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Mohan Munasinghe, Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Bracken Hendricks, author of the hit book Apollo’s Fire. Discover how students at Thomas Jefferson High School plan their next Environmental Impact Club activities and be inspired by the passion of the thousands of people who came to DC to lobby Congress during Power Shift 2007.

On April 16th, tune in to the broadcast of Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming, sponsored by Earth Day Network organized by the National Wildlife Federation and student-made videos, inspiring presentations from contest winners, solution-focused discussions, and live Q&As with people who really are changing the world.