2022 Chapter Action Guide
Use this guide (or planning worksheet) to help your chapter make plans for 2022. Your chapter is welcome to use all of it or any elements you find helpful in your own chapter action planning. Once completed, share the final version of it with your chapter and post it somewhere accessible for your group to see it to help your volunteers find your main areas of focus your chapter is strategically working on in the year ahead and how they can get involved. If we focus on three priority actions for the whole year, we will grow stronger groups and be in a good position to push forward under any Congress after the election. CCL National will provide additional guidance about our legislative agenda in 2022 and beyond and will add that to the community education activities we undertake.
Discuss and plan how your chapter will do the key activities below throughout the year
Budget reconciliation in 2022
Last year our work on budget reconciliation focused chiefly on mobilizing emails and phone calls to the President and Congress. This year we need to mix up and add fresh tactics to keep their attention. Here’s a list of ideas you can pick and choose from this spring and summer to reach your members of Congress, especially the Democrats. The spring and summer are the most important times to show support for climate action since Democrats seem most likely to return to budget reconciliation as the summer approaches.
- Find new people to email Biden and the Democrats in Congress through tabling, presentations, panels and film screenings. Whenever you are with a group of people ask them to use their phone to go to our Take Action tool to write Biden and any Democratic member of Congress they have. Take pictures when you do this to use in social media posts.
- Go big and take advantage of Earth Week (around April 22) doing as many of these types of education and outreach events as your chapter has capacity for. Be strategic, collaborate with nearby chapters and adjust as you plan so that you can reach as many people in your community as possible with the resources you have available. Also consider doing a TV or Radio interview to further leverage your local event.
- Designate a few people to use social media to send pictures of your events and people taking action to your members of Congress by tagging them.
- Write op-eds and letters to the editor from a variety of angles highlighting the need for climate action and naming your members of Congress in them.
- Continue working with your local units of government to pass resolutions in favor of carbon pricing, or the Energy Innovation Act or climate action to reduce emissions 50% by 2030 as Biden pledged, and then ask your liaison to send them to your members of Congress.
- Develop a sign-on letter from strategic community leaders (business, faith, local elected officials–whoever your research shows will influence your members of Congress)
- If you have a congressional district office near you, you could do a media stunt (consistent with our values) like a snowman vigil or delivery of messages from constituents or young people, with a climate focus of course.
- If your member of Congress is running for re-election, they will be looking for ways to be in contact with voters. Designate someone to watch their communication channels for events you can go to, or organize an event yourself that you can invite them to speak at.
- Watch for legislative updates from CCL staff because once Congress returns its attention to budget reconciliation we may need to mobilize emails and calls again.
How much should you talk about carbon fee and dividend right now? It is more strategic at this point in time to focus on public pressure for Biden to keep his pledge of 50% emissions reductions by 2030 than to tightly focus on carbon fee and dividend. Through our work we have developed carbon pricing champions, especially in the Senate, and in the House we have 95 co-sponsors on the Energy Innovation Act as of mid-February. By focusing on Biden's emissions pledge for the next 6 months you can create new partnerships in your community and more easily engage more people. Since modeling suggests that the only way to achieve that goal is with a carbon price, big broad frequent calls for climate action will generate the pressure that lets the carbon fee champions push for carbon pricing to be part of the package.
What about Republicans? The most important thing you can do in Republican areas is build our strength, especially from the right and the center, so that in 2023 we can hang on to the policies passed via budget reconciliation and build support for the next steps.
- Tailor your presentations to a right-leaning audience
- Highlight the need for conservatives to create and promote their own climate plan
- Highlight our supporting asks as good steps to take, and focus on them for our June lobby meetings
- Focus on the priority actions in the Building Our Strength section below.
Make your group stronger by being an oasis in the storm
During these uncertain and stressful times, we need to consciously pull people together and keep them together. Many people still long for connection and meaningful activity. Our chapters offer this, and the more intentional we are about providing it, the more our chapters will grow. Brainstorm and plan ways to make your chapter an "oasis in the storm" in hard times through relating to each other and enacting our values of welcoming relationships, focused solutions, optimism, inclusion and meaningful action.
- Set your intentions and make an agreement within your group that people coming into contact with CCL will find us enacting our values of welcoming relationships, focused solutions, optimism, inclusion, and meaningful action.
- Set a goal that 25% of your meeting time will be devoted to connecting people with each other based on these values. Review your past meeting agendas to see how you might improve in this area.
- Plan activities that help people connect while they are taking action.
- Personally invite people you know to experience in CCL what you experience there, by doing something with you that you are doing as part of CCL. You are giving them a great gift!
- Put extra attention on diversity by engaging and inviting people from all of the communities in your area.
- Review and energize your onboarding process for new and newly active people - quickly welcome, train, and activate your newbies and buddy them up with a veteran volunteer. See CCL Community’s Getting New Volunteers Engaged training for more info and ask someone to join CCL’s Onboarding Action Team.
Educate and activate your communities
Congress made progress on climate in 2021 through the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Develop your capacity to give online and in-person (if it's safe) presentations in your community on what got done and what still needs to be done on climate. CCL national will provide a presentation outline and slides (see What Got Done ✅ Slides) that you can customize and will provide updates as we learn what Congress can be pushed to do next.
- Build your presentations team. Help volunteers become presenters, schedulers and on-site supporters.
- Make sure every presentation includes an action, and decide together what those actions should be (sign up for CCL, email Congress, join the Monthly Calling Campaign, follow us on Twitter, etc.)
- Celebrate every presentation and encourage volunteers to go to presentations to support their presenters. Ask for ideas for new places to present at every meeting.
- Plan for your schedulers to send lots of proposals for CCL presentations to local progressive and conservative clubs, service clubs, professional associations, allies, civic groups, classes and faith organizations.
- Look for ways to reconnect with local elected officials you know, for example by giving a presentation to the sustainability committee in local government.
- Consider planning a virtual or in-person (if it’s safe) climate panel with local progressive and conservative ally organizations and invite your entire community to attend (like the CCL Maryland Ecopalooza).
Get voters to ask candidates and elected officials for climate action
Use every lever of political will to repeatedly bring candidates running for Congress the message that voters want more action on climate. Members of Congress and candidates will be more motivated to prioritize climate solutions before and after this year’s election if they hear frequent calls for more action from voters. We do not need to be specific about what should be in the climate plan to have an impact on their motivation to take action, and you may be able to work more easily with other climate groups in your community if your focus is on wanting more climate action rather than a narrower focus solely on carbon fee and dividend.
- Core message to candidates: “I remain very concerned about the changing climate and want to know what your next steps will be. What is your climate plan?” Keep in mind that candidates and political leaders think about two types of voters: their base and swing voters.
- In safe red or blue locations, candidates focus on their base, and you should probably prioritize getting those voters calling for climate action, especially during any contested primaries.
- In purple locations, the swing voters are also very important to candidates, and you should probably give extra attention to activating them, such as by doing presentations to the groups they tend to join.
- Because Congress is narrowly divided, swing states and districts will likely be getting the extra attention from the national media, pundits, political strategists and most especially congressional leadership, so swing voters are very strategic to our national efforts.
- Elevating the voices of people of color, young people and conservatives as well as rural and faith groups is also important to building the perception by politicians that climate action is broadly supported.
- Use all the tools provided by our levers of political will, while remaining true to our style of respect and appreciation. How many ways can you come up with over the course of the year to put out the message that voters want more action on climate?
- Begin planning what your chapter will do during the 2022 election season. For example, meet with candidates, help your local League of Women Voters host a candidate forum, or phone/text bank or postcard with the Environmental Voter Project.
And what about our democracy?
Like many in our country, many CCLers are deeply concerned about voting rights, integrity and access, although this concern often looks and feels differently depending on one’s political affiliation. A functioning democracy is essential to our society and to our climate work. What can you do as CCLers this year?
- Use your democracy: Make sure you vote and that you understand what you need to do in order to vote.
- Help others participate: Work locally to help the people around you vote, either personally one-on-one with people you know or by working with a local organization that helps people register and vote.
- Take off your CCL hat and help campaign personally for candidates of any party that align with your values.
- Open dialogue with people you disagree with. Join our Braver Angels Action Team and/or the Braver Angels organization.
- Work nationally to help environmentally concerned folks vote through our support of the Environmental Voter Project.
- Consider supporting other organizations that take a bi-partisan approach to keeping democratic systems strong in our country. Here are two examples: Issue One and Unite America.
Important CCL National Event Dates for 2022
- February - Call Senators and President Biden to stay strong on climate
- March 29-30 - Conservative conference in D.C.
- April 22 - Earth Day
- June 11-13 - International conference in D.C.
- September - Potential virtual/in-person Inclusion and BIPOC focused event
- November 8- Midterm elections
- December 3- Virtual conference
Remember: You’ll be able to do more as your group grows and you develop new leadership.