Election 2020:

Vote for Climate Justice!

Have 2 minutes? 10 minutes? Two hours? We’ve got you covered with ways to center climate change and social justice in Vermont’s 2020 election season!

THE GOAL: Make Climate Justice a central issue for political candidates across Vermont!

Allies from the Sunrise Movement calling for a Green New Deal from Senator Patrick Leahy in Burlington (Photo: Zac Rudge)

In order to make sure Climate Justice is a central issue in the 2020 election, 350VT is providing a platform and support for Vermonters looking to make their voices heard!

Have 5 minutes to spare or all the time in the world? We’ve got you covered!

We’ve got a template letter you are welcome to use, as well as a list of contact info for many of the big, upcoming races. We encourage you to ask questions, and if you need ideas check out this list.

We’ll have more on this soon– we’re in the post-primary dry spell for a bit! The plan is to attend as many virtual candidate events and forums as we can, asking the questions on climate that so many politicians try to brag their way around. LIST COMING SOON! Stay tuned.

Never been published? No worries! We’ve got a comprehensive guide below, and staff ready to help.

We need to make it loud and clear that and candidate that claims to be an ally to the Climate Justice movement can’t just coast on old or outdated legislation. We’re still pushing for a ban on new, large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure, a ban on eminent domain to build pipelines, reparations, defunding the police, and taxing the top 5% of Vermonters to fund climate solutions like public transit.

Legislation like the Global Warming Solutions Act is the floor, not the ceiling! We want to know what comes next!

 

Virtual Bird-Dogging!

It’s easy for political candidates to brag about accolades– and skirt around answering tough questions! Many have done a lot in the arena of climate, and others are allies only in name. (EX: Phil Scott’s climate solution of getting more electric Mustangs!)

We’ve carefully compiled a list of targeted questions to get at the heart of each candidate’s climate policy, which you can find HERE. We’ve packed this list with meaningful legislation to push for, such as banning new, large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure, pushing for reparations and defunding the police, and making sure the Global Warming Solution Act is the floor, not the ceiling!

 

COMING SOON: DATES AND TIMES FOR FORUMS AND DEBATES

—There’s currently a bit of post-primary dry spell; stay tuned for more info about where and how to join the conversation!

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Write to the candidates!

This should only take a few minutes– but a wave of emails can really shift power and perspective! Find contact info for the candidates running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor HERE.

You can also find a TEMPLATE LETTER to use any or all of. We encourage you to ask you own questions, as well as the ones found HERE.

 

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR GETTING PUBLISHED (OP-EDS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR)

 

What is a Letter to the Editor?

Letters to the Editor (LTE) are typically shorter pieces (a few hundred words) and are in direct response to an article the news agency posted. Example: SevenDays LTE Section for 8/5/2020

 

What is an Op-Ed?

Opinion Pieces (Op-Eds/Commentary/My Turn) are longer but will still have a word limit (typically 600-1000 words, with online publications being longer), and can be about anything regardless of the content of the news. Example: “What the Sparrows Told Me” by Trish O’Kane

 

Tips for Getting Published!

 

  • Be aware of character and word limits! (Online formats are more forgiving, but still have maximums! Print media are very strict due to physical space on the page being limited.)

 

    • Include the following with your submission:
      • Name
      • Number (so they can call to confirm you are the author– this won’t be published)
      • “About” blurb (where you study/work/organize), what town you are from
      • Affiliations with political parties, lobbying or special interest groups.

 

  • This varies from publication to publication, so keep your eye out!

 

 

  • Write from personal experience if you can– it’s powerful and relatable to the reader

 

  • Weave in facts that you have researched– don’t make the piece just a list of facts, but prove you know what you are talking about!

 

  • When cutting down an op-ed that is too long, first try taking out anything you could stand to leave out– if that doesn’t work, ask a buddy! It’s easier to cut down someone else’s word count, usually.

 

  • DO NOT submit a first draft– op-eds take time! Give yourself a few times to edit

 

  • Be wary of reading the comments section– internet trolls are emboldened by their anonymity.

 

  • Quadruple check for spelling and grammar, as well as citing sources properly where appropriate
  • Look at a few examples of published work from the media outlet you’re targeting to get a sense of what they like to publish!

 

Examples from 350 Staff and Allies

  • Abby Mnookin (350VT Staff):

https://www.vpr.org/people/abigail-mnookin

 

  • Julie Macuga (350VT Staff):

https://vtdigger.org/tag/julie-macuga/

 

  • Rachel Smolker (350VT Ally, Protect Geprags Park and Biofuel Watch):

https://www.huffpost.com/author/rachel-smolker

 

  • Rosanne Greco (350VT Ally, Save our Skies VT):

https://vtdigger.org/tag/rosanne-greco/

 

350.org’s LTE and OP-ED Guide:

  • Keep the more important part of your message at the top. Sometimes editors may cut out the last part of your letter.
  • Make sure every sentence has its own purpose!

Sunrise LTE guide

  • Act fast. Aim to submit within 1-2 days after the original piece is published. Submitting something simple quickly is better than being a perfectionist with your writing!
  • Show your personality. If you have a personal perspective on why you care about this issue, they want to hear it. For example: “As a teacher…”; “As a parent…”; “I’ve lived in this community my whole life and I’m concerned that…”; “My health has been affected…”
  • Don’t submit the same piece to multiple papers. If they find out, they’ll may ban your work!

 

Keep it local – recognize the audience of each newspaper, and try to build arguments around that (definitely VT specific, hopefully city/town specific)

 

Places to Submit Pieces in Vermont:

 

  • Brattleboro Reformer

LTE and Op-Ed word limit: 400 LINK

 

  • Bennington Banner

LTE and Op-Ed word limit: 400 LINK

 

  • Times Argus

LTE and Op-Ed word limit: 300 LINK

 

  • Seven Days

LTE only; word limit: 250 LINK

 

  • VTDigger

Op-Ed only; minimum word limit: 400 ideal length: 600-800 Please send your commentary to Cate Chant, cchant@vtdigger.org, and Anne Galloway, agalloway@vtdigger.org.

 

  • Burlington Free Press

Accepts Op-Eds; Site down for maintenance. LINK

 

  • Williston Observer

LTEs only; 300 words max; and must be submitted by Monday at noon the week of publication. LINK

 

  • Rutland Herald

LTEs: 300 words max LINK

(They also take op-eds but don’t specify length.)

 

  • Addison Independent

LTE’s accepted; No word limit given, but safe to assume 200-300 max. LINK

 

  • VPR

No longer runs commentaries 🙁