|Identify and Frame the Issue According to Your Views|
For our examples, we are using the emissions of light duty vehicles as our issue. Letís define the issue further:
In terms of auto emission standards, why are light duty vehicles not under the same regulations and restrictions as smaller vehicles? What would it take to get light duty vehicles to comply with the same regulations and guideline so that we can have cleaner air and stop some of the sources of greenhouse gases that are contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming?
Identify the groups and individuals who will be your support system. Seek out and align with those who are active or concerned with bettering the issue(s) as defined in Step 1.
For our example as defined in step 1, the following web sites can be
considered allies, concerned groups and constituents for the light
duty vehicle emission issue:
|EPA's Federal Light- Duty Exhaust Emission Standards||Vehicle Emission Research|
|EPA's Motor Vehicle Emissions||Green Issues - Vehicles|
|Study of Vehicle Emissions - the Clean Air Act Subsection||American Lung Association|
For any environmental issue, the following resource areas are valuable in getting information for potential support. These sites could also be valuable in reaching allies who will share knowledge about your particular issue (very critical for step 4):
General Environmental Interest Seek out key words to your issue, i.e. pollution, vehicle emissions control, etc.
Environmental Protection Agency
State PIRG's - TheStates Public Interest Research Groups Sponsored by public research groups and can provide Congressional scorecards for environmental issues.
Northeast Research Associates Environmental activists and lists certain topics such as animal rights, global warming, hazardous wastes, ozone depletion, as well as many other issues.
League of Women Voters Link further to Democracy Work, Watchful Action or League Action Line. Sublinks are Grassroots Action Needed Now or How To Make a Difference. Many states have their own web pages and you can send a message to Congress. The current yearís Legislative priorities are available.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Global Environmental Policy Research Tools
International Education and Resource Network Enables young people to undertake projects designed to make a meaningful contribution to the health and welfare of the planet and its people.
Institute for Global Communications Further link to econet and work on any subject area.
Under the search engine of Yahoo one can link to:
Some key organizations, interest and special interest groups that might
be helpful when looking for support are the following:
|National Wildlife Federation||Greenpeace|
|NPR (Living on Earth)||Common Cause|
|Sierra Club||Union of Concerned Scientists|
|Audubon Society||Natural Resources Defense Council|
|Nature Conservancy||Environmental Defense Fund|
|Greenpeace||Your local newspapers, TV and radio stations|
|Identify your Opposition|
If you pay close attention to their arguments, you may readily identify the source of the bias of the individual or group. This can lead you to developing counter arguments to that group and its stand on the issue. Understand the level of the delivered rhetoric, but do not stoop to the level of rhetoric of your opponent.
Read these words from some people involved in debate over SUV's.
Gas guzzling SUV's THE REAL ANSWER What are the hazards of being too emotional in your debate?
Read all presentations carefully. Be cautious of a "wolf in sheep's clothing." Some groups that may seem to stand with you actually stand for something equally troublesome.
The Anti-SUV Homepage
Is opposition to SUV's this groups main issue or does it have another agenda
that is equally environmentally disquieting?
2. IDENTIFY THE ECONOMIC FORCES that oppose your viewpoint.
Most issues that provoke interest and concern finally come around to the question of money. Simply put, you must ask the question, "Who will profit from the oppositions side of the issue?" Look closely at any economic cycle you can identify associated with the issue.
It is not necessarily the case that a economically successful group, corporation or nation will be the operative following an unacceptable, risky or dangerous environmental course of action. It may be a poor nation or failing business that has to risk everything to move up a notch economically.
Examine the origin of goods and services connected with the issue.
3. IDENTIFY THE POLITICAL FORCES that oppose your viewpoint.
Political opposition may come your way in many disguised forms. It is not always the direct influence of an elected official that is driving political resistance to an issue, but the more important and powerful resistance that comes from the special interests that influence the politicians. Remember that politics masquerades as science and science masquerades as nature. Political action groups and special interests will show you their best efforts to get what they want. Using statistics to make a point can be very powerful, but also very misleading. Take time to study the source of the numbers, how the data is presented and how the data is interpreted. Remember the famous line of Mark Twain, "there are lies, damned lies and statistics." Look for the "lie" in the statistics.
* DO NOT NEGLECT TO IDENTIFY THE INTERSECTION OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL FORCES that oppose your viewpoint.
The agenda is seldom a simple one. The faster you identify all the connections and the power of their influence, the more quickly and efficiently you can design your initiative.
Some key organizations, interest and special interest groups that might be helpful when looking for support are the following:
After the issue has been framed and the different viewpoints identified, the facts must used to support the chosen frame perspective. It is probably optimal to use more than one type of resource. Scientific journal articles, web sites, government publications, newspapers, and non-profit environmental organizations are all good sources to find information. Make sure that the resources are credible. Many organizations have a bias or a slant on the issue. The work done in steps two and three will help distinguish neutral organizations.
It is essential to refer to relevant federal, state, or local
laws . This will ensure that the aim of your initiative is focused and
credible. Check out the following sites to find some common federal laws:
|Right to Know Law||Clean Water Act|
|Superfund||Canadian International Environmental Policy|
|Clean Air Act||Environmental Laws|
|Montreal Protocol||Clean Air Standards|
|Air Quality||Clean Ocean Action|
|Automobile Service Stations Compliance||Toxic Release Inventory|
|Transportation Compliance||National Resource Defense Council|
3. Public Awareness
This source needs to be carefully analyzed. Articles are often framed
by the writer's perspective or altered by the newspaper editors to address
public opinion. Here are some on-line papers that may be a good source.
Try to find out why the laws were created.
|New York Times||Atlanta Journal Constitution|
|Los Angeles Times||Christian Science Monitor|
|Chicago Tribune||Boston Globe|
Light duty vehicles are currently operating under less stringent emissions regulation compared to cars. Due to current increase in popularity, the level of greenhouse gases is increasing.
Clean Air Act states the emission regulations for vehicles according
to their weight. Many of the popular Sports Utility vehicles fall into
the category of having off road cababilities thus allowing them to
be classified under the heaviest category.
(C) The term "heavy duty vehicle" means a truck, bus, or other vehicle manufactured primarily for use on the public streets, roads, and highways (not including any vehicle operated exclusively on a rail or rails) which has a gross vehicle weight (as determined under regulations promulgated by the Administrator) in excess of six thousand pounds. Such term includes any such vehicle which has special features enabling off-street or off-highway operation and use.
Column A Column B
|LDT Test weight||(5 yrs/50,000 mi)||(11 yrs/120,000 mi)|
|0-3,750 lbs. LVW||0.25||3.4||0.4*||0.31||4.2||0.6*|
|3,751-5,750 lbs. TW||0.32||4.4||0.7*||0.46||6.4||0.98||0.10|
|Over 5,750 lbs. TW||0.39||5.0||0.1*||0.56||7.3||1.53||0.12|
Standards are expressed in grams per mile (GPM).
Newspaper: The New York Times has written several articles concerning the impact of vehicle emissions. Click here to do a search for articles.
|How to Influence Environmental Policy|
1. Political Action
Political action plays an important role in changing the minds of our elected officials. Letters, petitions, e mail, faxes and call in days can make a difference on how our elected officials vote.
Check out the following links on how to write letters to your elected officials
To find out the address of your legislator click below.
To find out the voting record of your legislator and their environmental scorecard click the link below.
Working assets long distance allows individuals to call legislators and CEO's of major corporations when environmental issues become critical. They will also send faxes to legislators and CEO's for a small fee. To find out more about working assets long distance click the link below.
2. Class Presentations
Present information to your class relating to a particular environmental issue. Raise awareness in your school. Arrange to make presentations about the issue to the community library, and middle and elementary school classes.
3. School Wide Assemblies
Arrange to have speakers come in to your school to address a particular issue. You can also arrange debates among individuals that have opposing points of view.
Set up tables in high congestion areas such as the cafeteria and pass out pamphlets, gather petitions, signatures and /or letters.
Click below for more information.
Design and distribute surveys to raise awareness of your particular issue. Discuss the reason the survey is being distributed with the person taking it and be available for any questions the person might have. Click below for information on how to make a survey.
6. Construct a Web page and put it up on
the World Wide Web
Research an issue and construct a web page that provides information about the issue with pertinent links.
7. Demonstrations and Protests
Organize students that have similar views and raise the awareness about an issue by having a protest. This may also get the attention of the press.
Put up posters that illustrate the need for action pertaining to an issue. Be sure to include information on how a person can act to support an particular issue.
9. Boycott Products
Arrange campaigns to boycott particular products as a result of certain policies to which they adhere. Make sure the boycott is coordinated with activities such as postering, tabling and letter writing which are discussed above.
Arrange some sort of event that will raise money for your cause.
11. Do a Service Project or Volunteer
Find organizations that support your issue or cause and volunteer to help them. Arrange service projects that help make a difference. Affirm your commitment to the issue.
Below you will find some additional links that will help you make a difference!!!!!
|Step 1||Step 2||Step3||Step 4||Step 5||