Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Canada is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization funded solely by Canadians with a twin focus: to create the political will for a livable planet and to empower people to claim their political and personal power. In Canada, we have been laser-focused on lobbying for carbon fee and dividend since September 2010.
Since September 2010, our volunteers have made thousands of connections with their MPs, through letters, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. Our role in influencing political will toward adopting a comprehensive national carbon pricing policy can’t be understated. We have shown the world how passionate citizens who are well-trained, organized by ridings, and with a good system of support can more than influence the political process.
Marshall Saunders, a retired real estate broker, founded Citizens’ Climate Lobby in 2007. Saunders is an international philanthropist and winner of the 2009 Grameen Foundation Humanitarian Award. After retiring from business, he devoted two decades of his life to volunteer efforts focused on lifting the world’s poorest people out of poverty with small micro-credit loans. In 2006, after watching An Inconvenient Truth, Saunders realized that global warming-related effects such as rising sea levels and more flooding and droughts were going devastate many of the very people he had seen lift themselves out of poverty through micro-credit loans. After being trained by Vice President Gore’s Climate Reality team, Saunders was compelled to do more.
I realized that anything my listeners intended to do as individuals was totally swamped by public policy, by what the government did or didn’t do.
While I suggested ways for people to reduce their use of carbon, Congress extended a law that gave $18 billion in subsidies to oil and coal companies.
It seemed to me that Congress was doing things exactly backwards. Why? Because it is dominated by special interests, in this case the fossil fuel industry. In my heart I knew something else was at play: Ordinary people were not asking their members of Congress for anything regarding climate change, not in an organized and effective way. Furthermore, they didn’t know what to do or how to do it, nor did they have self-confidence and support they needed.
At the official launch of the first three chapters in San Diego California in 2007, Saunders emphasized the novel approach to climate action CCL volunteers still demonstrate today:
“And yet through all of the patience and kindness there is an indomitable will, never being defeated, never giving up.”
In 2010, Saunders met Cathy Orlando at the Nashville Summit for Climate Reality Project presenters. Orlando is a published scientist and educational author, manager with six years experience at a university, Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient and climate activist who lives in Sudbury, Ontario. You can read more about her story here.
Orlando brought CCL to Canada in September 2010 and started the first chapter in Sudbury. Soon after, CCL chapters sprung up in Toronto and Red Lake, Ontario. She has been working as the national director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Canada since October 2011. Her primary duties include: volunteer management, all aspects of communications, fundraising, data management, keeping the organization focused on our two primary goals nationally and managing all national lobbying events in Ottawa. In September 2017, Cathy took on additional duties of International Outreach Manager of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, where she will draw upon thirteen years of experience in science communication, organizational development, and volunteer empowerment.
Both Saunders and Orlando believe Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a powerful way for us to create the political will for a livable world. They invite you to learn more about CCL by joining an introductory call, held every Wednesday at 8 pm EST, 5 pm Pacific.
13th Time Lucky
In October 2018, Citizens Climate Lobby was on Parliament Hill for the 13th time lobbying collectively. While on the Hill, there were indications that carbon fee and dividend was going to be announced as the official backstop policy for pricing carbon pollution. Senator for Edmonton, AB Senator Grant Mitchell said, “You are one of the most successful lobbying groups I have worked with because you are about to get what you lobbied for.”
On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau announced: “It is free to pollute, so we have too much pollution.” He presented the solution simply too, saying, “Starting next year, it will no longer be free to pollute anywhere in Canada. We are going to place a price on the pollution that causes climate change from coast to coast to coast. We’re also going to help Canadians adjust to this new reality.
And there you have it: Canada enacted the first carbon fee and dividend policy on the planet.
Our work is not done. As all seasoned environmental and social justice advocates know, gains made must then be defended. We need to refresh strengthen and grow our organization. We are action-oriented, highly focused and we are not guessing. Most of all we like to have fun. In less than 10 hours a month, on your own time, you can make a difference.
Join us and together we will make tomorrow today.
Sign up and get to know more about Citizens’ Climate Lobby?
#CCCLConf2018 photo on Parliament Hill October 15, 2018. “Digging the Sgt Peppers vibe of the group photo!”
These are the five core activities that all Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapters leverage to bring citizens into the political process and to ensure their contribution is constructive and makes more good possible. We call these activities the “levers of political will.”
- Lobbying: We train citizens how to lobby in support of our Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal by building friendly relationships with our federally elected representatives.
- Media relations: We train citizens how to engage with and influence the media. We write letters to the editors and op-eds, meet with editorial boards and work to place stories in all forms of media.
- Grassroots outreach: We recruit and educate the public on climate solutions, citizen advocacy and how to participate with one’s government.
- Grasstops outreach: We seek to educate, build partnerships with and gain the support of community leaders and non-governmental organizations, both nationally and locally.
- Chapter development: It is through the growth and management of the local CCL group/chapter, that it becomes possible to push on the other four levers for building political will.
Note, we are not “against” anything: we lobby for policies that will improve and protect Canada’s carbon pricing policies. Carbon pricing policies in Canada will be assessed using the following criteria available in English and in French.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on a harmonizing Canada’s national carbon pricing policy.
These core values guide volunteers along the way:
Focus: We are focused on what we see as the single most impactful solution to climate change — a national carbon fee and dividend. We know it will not solve the problem entirely, and appreciate the work that our friends in other groups are doing. So that we can be effective, we do not let ourselves get distracted by work that does not support our core purpose. After we accomplish our goal, we will tackle the next most impactful solution.
Optimism: We believe that people are good, and that democracy works. We are confident that our approach will work because we see progress. We stand for a solution, not in protest of other solutions. We don’t expect perfection from ourselves or others; this is a process and we know that people can improve. Together, we are a community that offers one another comfort, support, and fun as we work.
Relationships: We take the most generous approach to other people as possible — appreciation, gratitude, and respect. We listen, we work to find common values, and we endeavor to understand our own biases. We are honest and firm. We know that there is a place for protest, but our approach is to build consensus — that’s what will bring enduring change. That’s why elected officials and their staff, no matter what their politics, say they are happy to see us — and mean it.
Integrity: We are prepared and do our research. We are always on time for meetings. Our approach is thoughtful & thorough. We consult experts and use data. We are open to new information; in fact we solicit opposing opinions. We refine our solutions to make them better. We follow up when we are asked. We keep on.
Personal Power: We use our voices to be heard. This simple act transforms us from spectators to engaged citizens, and it reveals the true nature of democracy to us. We are volunteer-driven — trusting volunteers to make important decisions, and to create and develop things that will be valued by Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Being Nonpartisan: Our group is open to all who are serious about solving climate change. You are welcome no matter where you live, what you wear, what you do for a living, or who you voted for in the last election. We work with elected officials and community leaders from across the political spectrum because we believe that everyone is a potential ally.
Diversity:We empower everyone in exercising their personal and political power regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability or political affiliation. We seek out, support, and elevate people whose voices may not have been fully heard.