In 2013 we gained many new chapters and friends in Canada. Some of you may not know of our beginnings. Thus we felt our newsletter should include Citizen Climate Lobby's story.
THE FOUNDING OF CITIZENS CLIMATE LOBBY
Citizens Climate Lobby was founded in 2007 by one man – Marshall Saunders. His vision has inspired many people. What we have achieved in such a short time is remarkable. In just six years, a handful of volunteer chapters ballooned into over 150 Chapters in Canada and the USA, covering 41 ridings and almost half the congressional districts in the USA.
Since the 1990s, Marshall has funded and directed a micro-lending program for impoverished women in Mexico called Grameen de la Frontera, which is modeled after the highly-successful Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Marshall's was awarded the Grameen Foundation Humanitarian Award in 2009.
After seeing Al Gore’s documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," Marshall realized that the people he was working so hard to help stood to lose everything if civilization continues along its current path. Marshall was among the first 1,000 who were trained under Al Gore to lead presentations on climate change and he spoke to thousands of people in his first year. Marshall soon realized, however, that there was a critical element missing in efforts to solve the problem – political will.
Having experienced first-hand the effective advocacy of RESULTS, an anti-poverty organization that boosted U.S. support for child survival funding by twenty-fold, Marshall set out to duplicate the RESULTS model and apply it to the thorny issue of climate change. That model is to train and empower citizen volunteers to speak effectively on the issues and develop relationships with members of Congress, the media, and other community leaders in ways that compel our government to take strong action.
There are now more than 150 active CCL groups in Canada and the U.S. and growing as well as CCL Chapters in Sweden and Bangladesh.
Marshall says, "The only revolution I want to be part of includes a lot of singing and dancing". If you join us, be assured that the Canadian arm of CCL has embraced Marshall's prime directive.
THE GENESIS OF CANADA'S CITIZENS CLIMATE LOBBY'S
After being trained by Al Gore and the incredible experts at Climate Reality in Montreal in 2008, Cathy Orlando's conclusion was the politicians need our help. In June 2010, Cathy met Marshall Saunders at a Climate Reality Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. In September 2010, Cathy started the first chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby in Sudbury ON.
Prior to meeting Marshall, Cathy had been lobbying her MP Glenn Thibeault (NDP) since 2009 regarding climate change and for the NDP to reconsider their Cap and Trade policy for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuel sector of the Canadian economy. CCL's carbon pricing policy (Carbon Fee and Dividend), their methodology (being helpful instead of inflammatory) and their impeccable business model for the organization, all appealed to Cathy and she started the 1st Canadian chapter of CCL. Cathy openly admits that CCL cured her climate trauma which is specific type of post traumatic stress disorder for climate activists.
In November 2010, two more Ontario chapters were added, in Red Lake and Toronto founded by Christine Penner-Polle and Cheryl McNamara respectively. Christine, Cheryl and Cathy met in Facebook in a group that Dante Ryel founded to help create the political will for Bill C311: The Climate Change Accountability Act .
Bill C311 was first championed by MP Jack Layton (2008) and then MP Bruce Hyer (2010), both of the New Democratic Party of Canada. Bill C311 has the dubious distinction of being the only bill in Canada to ever be passed in the House of Commons (May 6, 2010) and be killed in the Senate with no debate or committee work (November 16, 2010).
A NATIONAL MANAGER FOR CANADA's CCL
In 2010, Celes Davar, a fellow Climate Reality Presenter, introduced Cathy to the organization Four Years Go. After watching the video below and much thought, Cathy made a commitment to do what she could to change the course of history between 2011 and 2015.
In September 2011, after receiving the blessing from her family, Cathy left her job as science outreach coordinator at Laurentian University in Sudbury and took on the full-time role of National Manager of Citizens Climate Lobby in Canada committed herself to building Canada's CCL over a four year period.
OUR FIRST MAJOR GROWTH SPURT – November 2011
OUR FIRST FORAY TO PARLIAMENT HILL – November 2011
On our first foray on Parliament Hill in November 2011, Jan Slakov (Salt Springs) and Cathy Orlando (Sudbury) lobbied NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie for Carbon Fee and Dividend. Joanne Light at CCL Halifax helped us secure this meeting in November 2011 with some assistance from MP Thibeault (Sudbury) – Cathy's MP.
LOBBYING ON PARLIAMENT HILL in 2012
1) Put a price on carbon (not specified).
2) End tax incentives and subsidies to fossil fuels.
3) Create a pan-Canadian climate and energy strategy (not specified).
However, we did manage to sneak in some CCL lobbying on the side and lobbied specifically for Carbon Fee and Dividend. It was during a June 2012 lobbying session that MP Bruce Hyer indicated that he might want to champion the Carbon Fee and Dividend Act.
This picture above was taken pretty close to the moment when MP Hyer disclosed he was considering to champion the Carbon Fee and Dividend Act. From left to right in the picture are Lyn Adamson (Toronto), Tom Cullen (Toronto), MP Bruce Hyer, Mari Wesche (Pontiac and the National Capital Region) and Catherine Kiewning (Red Lake) (June 2012).
This picture was taken in June 2012. From left to right are Stephen Berg (Winnipeg), Cathy Orlando (Sudbury), Lyn Adamson (Toronto), Mari Wesche (Pontiac and the National Capital Region) and Catherine Kiewning (Red Lake).
During our June 2012 lobbying blitz, CCL was invited to introduce Parliamentarians to our grassroots organization and Carbon Fee and Dividend at a special symposium organized by the All Party Parliamentary Climate Caucus in Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Stephen Berg (Winnipeg) and Cathy Orlando (Sudbury) gave a memorable presentation that ended with the story of CCL advisor and former Congressman Bob Inglis– the Republican politician from South Carolina who championed a revenue neutral carbon tax bill in the US Congress and was defeated in the primaries by a Tea Partier.
Canada’s Citizens Climate Lobby went back to Parliament Hill again November 6 to 8, 2012 with the Climate Action Network. This time there were 9 of us.
EXPERT LOBBYING VS CITIZEN LOBBYING
We are grateful to the Climate Action Network for letting us piggy back on their lobbying days in Ottawa in 2012. By lobbying with the experts at the Climate Action Network we received the education of a lifetime. We also discovered a huge difference between citizen lobbying and expert lobbying. We knew intuitively, that CCL needed to lobby outside of Climate Action Network lobbying and decided it was time for us to have our own conference and lobbying days.
There was a Canadian fundraising drive in November 2012 to conduct a conference and lobbying days of the calibre people come to expect of Citizens Climate Lobby in November 2013. By June 2013, we had the money set aside for Canada's first national CCL conference and lobbying days.