The Ohio chapters of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby received the “One to Watch” award at the Ohio Environmental Council’s Green Gala, held Nov. 12 at COSI in Columbus.
Delaware’s CCL chapter was included in the award.
State chapter coordinator Doug Bell, also the leader of the Cincinnati CCL chapter, accepted the award on behalf of Ohio’s 11 CCL chapters. Marianne Gabel, leader of the Delaware chapter, introduced Bell.
The Ohio Environmental Council is a statewide organization that “strives to provide the Ohio environmental community with the tools and resources it needs to build a greener, and more prosperous Ohio,” according to its website. The “One to Watch” award was one of four awards given.
For the past seven years, volunteer CCL members have traveled to Washington, D.C., for a national lobby day. In June 2016, 800 CCL members from across the country had meetings in 500 congressional offices. Ohio members had discussions with 14 of 16 Ohio congressional offices and both Ohio senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, to urge climate change action.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby advocates for a “carbon fee and dividend”, a plan that would place a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels, with 100 percent of the fees, minus administrative costs, going back to households as the “dividend.” CCL recommends using a border adjustment to discourage businesses from relocating outside of the country.
Bell described CCL’s approach to climate change response. Since its formation, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby organization has worked “to empower citizens to connect with and influence their members of Congress.”
“To spread the idea that each one of us can address climate change,” according to the national CCL website. CCL’s firm rule is “to show genuine appreciation and respect to all people and points of view.”
Bell said he remembers that when CCL first began discussing climate change, lawmakers were reluctant to tackle the issue. As CCL advocacy progressed over time, and after more discussion and information exchanges with congressional offices, members saw that more and more of these officials and their aides were no longer doubting the science; they were concerned about government control and the economy. Progress was achieved only after the volunteers made an effort to understand the concerns of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Gabel, a retired attorney who has long been active in environmental organizations, said she was pleased to introduce Bell, who coordinates the chapters’ work with the national organization.
“It was very exciting to take part at the Gala on behalf of the many Ohioans working on behalf of the Citizens Climate Lobby,” she said. “The effects of climate change are coming faster than had been expected, and there is no issue more important to Ohio and the world. CCL is working to build the political will needed to move Congress to take action.”