Citizens’ Climate Lobby discusses plans for future student involvement

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Sam Rush/NW

Ruby Simoneau

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapter at NMU is hoping to expand its club this school year by recruiting students who are interested in conservation and environmental politics.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. Local and campus chapters across the United States work with their community and local officials to push conservation solutions.

 The NMU chapter formed in October of last year when Marquette’s CCL leader Kristen Carlson recruited junior and ecology major Calista Rockwell to start a campus group. 

The organization’s main purpose is writing and calling their local officials to get them interested in outreach and solutions such as the HR763 bill, also known as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. This market-based policy puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. If passed by Congress, this bill would reduce carbon emissions as well as put money directly into people’s wallets each month, helping low and middle-income Americans. 

Co-leader Mandy Bonesteel is a former wildland firefighter who also worked with AmeriCorps leading groups of young adults on conservation-related projects, said she joined CCL to get involved with environmental politics on a larger scale. 

Bonesteel believes it’s important to have a chapter on campus to get more students engaged in the conversation about climate change and solutions.

 “It’s been difficult for the group to put on events and recruit students during the pandemic,” said Bonesteel. “Normally we would do a lot more like tabling, go into businesses, have meetings on campus, but we’re still kind of navigating the pandemic. We’re a little low when it comes to recruitment right now.” 

Last year the club was involved in events such as climate-oriented movie screenings, Sustainability Week and WinterFest, as well as a collaboration with NMU’s EcoReps at the Call Congress campaign. In addition, they partnered with Marquette Senior High School last November to teach a letter-to-editor workshop in which students learned to write about conservation-related bills. 

The group hasn’t held any events this semester due to COVID-19, but it’s been having meetings via Zoom to discuss future goals and projects. The members have been trying to keep in-person meetings to a minimum to prevent virus spread, said Bonesteel. The group is currently working on recruiting more students and planning a climate-oriented movie night for the future. 

 “In the Upper Peninsula, we have hunters, fishers, skiers, hikers and bikers. There’s so much to do and it’s a really good place to have this conversation,” said Bonesteel. “All those folks who love to do things outdoors and who love our community up here take an interest in preserving it.” 

CCL campus leaders are encouraging anyone who’s interested in environmental politics and conservation to join their group to gain experience talking to people in power and using these skills to help out the environmental sector. 

“It’d be really great to get more folks on board, generate some new ideas, and have a little bit more outreach in the community,” said Bonesteel. 

Students who are interested in joining CCL can reach out to Bonesteel or Rockwell via email ([email protected],[email protected]) or sign up on the NMU Hub website at thehub.nmu.edu.