BLOG: Why Did the Press Love this Letter to the Editor?

Alyssa Taburiaux with her MP Richard Cannings (South Okanagan – West Kootenay riding)

BLOG: Why Did the Press Love this Letter to the Editor?

By Judy O’Leary

When I read Tom Fletcher’s climate dismissive editorial, I was very upset. Even though I had never written a letter to the editor before, I knew it was important that this editorial was challenged. With the help and support of my CCL group leader, I was able to write a draft in-between class.” –Alyssa Taburiaux, age 18

Alyssa Taburiaux’s letter, Millennials are fed up with climate dismissives, was in response to a syndicated opinion piece claiming that the horrific wildfires in BC and hurricanes further south had nothing to do with climate change. It ended up being published in 26 different newspapers across British Columbia. What was different about Alyssa’s letter that it got so much uptake? Was it because of how well she explained the connections to climate change?

We think it was because she spoke straight from her heart: “I find it upsetting that Black Press papers across the province give Mr. Fletcher a mouthpiece for such inaccurate messaging… On behalf of my little sisters’ future and the future of my generation, I ask that science is acknowledged, and the issue of climate change becomes a priority.”

She also likely got more press because of her age and because she didn’t play on guilt that older generations are dumping the problem on her generation. Instead she made a strong case that Millennials are powerful: “Millennials like myself will be the largest age cohort in the 2019 election according to a recent Abacus report. To stay relevant to this generation, editorials need to focus on solutions to our climate crisis, rather than denying human-caused climate change.”

The 70 Black Press newspapers across the province – most which are small community papers – either printed or posted online the offensive opinion piece. In order to maximize her chances of getting the LTE published, Alyssa sent the letter to all the editors of Black Press papers.

How did Alyssa gain the knowledge and confidence to be such a successful LTE writer? And to help to get hundreds of signatures on a youth Parliamentary petition about climate change that she co-wrote? Those of you who met Alyssa at CCL Canada’s 2016 conference and lobbying days won’t be surprised, as you will know what an amazing young woman she is.

What you might not know is all the work our group leader, Laura Sacks, has done behind the scenes to encourage youth to take up climate action. She has provided a lot of very practical help over the years: rides to meetings, help with editing, encouragement to assist at tabling, figuring out how to set up crowd funding to pay for travel expenses to Ottawa, and most importantly, really listening to their ideas.

We would love to hear your ideas for involving more youth in CCL. They have the strongest voice.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Judy O’Leary is an active member of CCL Nelson-West Kootenay. She has taught post secondary economics and has worked in policy research, program evaluation and environmental impact assessment.