Citizens' Climate Radio Episode 82: Are Lobbyists Evil?
In this month’s episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano and Ruth Abraham feature four high school students who reveal the secret world of teenage lobbying. Brionna Dulay, Saachi Sharma, Cole Cochrane, and Anna Xies all volunteer for Citizens’ Climate Lobby. We asked them, “Are lobbyists evil?”
Brionna Dulay is a high school senior in Washington State who discovered a passion for climate advocacy after she witnessed severe flooding in her community. As a Punjabi-American, Brionna recognized the lack of her community’s representation in climate advocacy and climate change’s disproportionate effects on minority communities. This has pushed Brionna to speak to U.S. senators and representatives along with local, regional, and state members of congress.
Saachi Sharma, also from Washington State, has been involved with Citizens’ Climate Lobby since middle school, and she is now a high school junior. She believes that the work done by today’s youth helps make the world a better place, and says, “There’s really no age for when you can start being more climate-conscious.”
Cole Cochrane started his advocacy at 11 years old as a volunteer on campaigns for local candidates. Cole is now a senior in high school and has co-founded a nonprofit organization called Maine Youth Action, where he serves as the Policy Director. Maine Youth Action aims to empower youth in politics and have their voices heard in critical areas like climate action.
Anna Xies lived in China until she was 11 years old and is now a senior in high school in Washington State. Anna is the statewide leader of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Youth and previously worked on team recruitment. Anna was struck by the positive feedback from new team members, who told her that CCL has changed their lives and given them more confidence in their public speaking and in the future of our planet.
So are lobbyists evil? Anna says, “I don’t think lobbying is inherently evil. I think when you get a lot of money involved with it, it gets a little bit corrupt at times”.
We decided to call a professional lobbyist to find out more.
Ben Pendergrass has worked in Washington, D.C., for over 14 years as a Congressional staffer and a government relations professional. He is CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs and works to advance the policy goals of CCL in Congress. Ben gave us the inside scoop on professional lobbying and had some advice for youth lobbyists. Ben suggests that “being informed, being polite, and really connecting the issues back to the state or district is always very important.” Dig Deeper
- Get involved with Citizens’ Climate Lobby Youth
- Check out the work Cole and many others are doing at Maine Youth Action
- Learn about the story of the youth climate movement in the book Movement Makers: How Young Activists Upended the Politics of Climate Change
Good News Story
Citizens’ Climate Radio Intern, Lila Powell, tells us about two young climate advocates’ successes in sustainability. Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz were students at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. While sipping wine in their backyard, Franziska and Max pondered the future of the glass bottle it came in since NOLA doesn’t have a government-funded glass recycling program. Tune in to hear how they turned this issue into a happy tale for their whole community.
Click here to view a full transcript of this episode.
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