Speak at your Municipal Council

1) Do a lot of community outreach.

The only way to pass this by-law is to do a lot of outreach in advance. You’ll need to tell your friends, family, schools, environmental groups, faith groups, and everyone concerned about climate change about the idea. Visit our Advocacy Action Kit page for free resources to help you lead a campaign in your own community. Use our sign up sheet to collect emails so you can notify everyone to come to city hall when the item is being debated. Your outreach efforts will ensure that city hall is packed with supporters when the idea comes to a vote. This is perhaps the most important step: take the time to build support.

2) Talk to councillors in advance.

It’s important to speak with your city councillors before the item is formally moved forward at a committee for discussion. Councillors frequently have their minds made up on a matter before they actually debate it in public. Meeting with them in private will give you a chance to explain the concept and address their concerns. You don’t want to push an item forward for a vote before ensuring you have enough support on the committee to make it pass. Contact your councillors via phone or email to set up a meeting. Visit our Advocacy Action Kit page for a template email and resources to share. Encourage them to watch our TEDx talk and download our legal report or recent Municipal World articles.

3) Invite Rob Shirkey to give a talk in your community.

Our Executive Director, Rob Shirkey is a recognized global authority on the subject of climate change disclosures for gas pumps. He has given lectures on the topic across North America and has been featured in media all over the world. His talks are compelling and he can help take decision-makers from being skeptical about the concept to wanting to implement it in their own communities. We recommend inviting Rob to speak, securing a lecture hall at a university or library, and partnering with local environmental groups to promote the talk. It’s really important to get as many of your local representatives to come to the talk – contact them well in advance, tell them how important this issue is to you, and try to secure their commitment to come. At City Hall, they’ll only hear 5-10 minutes of the idea. At this lecture, they’ll get the full pitch from the expert. Feel free to use this poster as a template to modify and make your own. Save it as a PDF and attach it to your email invitations.

4) Pack city hall with supporters.

All your hard work has paid off and the idea is now on a committee’s agenda! When you know the date that your councillors are debating the by-law, send an email to all your supporters to ensure they come to city hall. Did some supporters give you their phone numbers? Good. Call them and tell them how important it is to come to the meeting. Let us know about the event too by emailing us at communications@ourhorizon.org – we want to be there to offer your councillors a presentation about the idea and answer their questions.

5) Make a speech to your councillors.

The most effective way to move our idea forward is to make a ‘deputation’ (or short speech) to your representatives in favour of the climate change warnings. Contact your City Clerk or a supportive councillor to help you set it up. Here’s a PowerPoint presentation that you can use as a starting point to make your own. The more people that take the microphone to speak to councillors, the better. So bring your family, friends, and supporters to city hall as a show of support. Councillors will have questions for you  – the best thing you can do is study the idea and prepare answers in advance – so watch videos of Rob’s talks, read our legal report, and articles. If you prepare in advance, rehearse your speech and speak from the heart, we believe that your voice can help change the world. Watch the video below for an amazing deputation by 16-year-old Emily from West Vancouver. What leadership! Check out more examples on our videos page.

6) Share your speech on YouTube!

Congratulations! You just stood up for your community and our planet! It takes a lot of courage to speak at City Hall and we want your example to inspire others to do the same. Make sure to have some friends use their camera phone to record everyone’s speech and then share them all to YouTube. We’ll post it to our Facebook page so that people across our country and around the world can be inspired by your example.

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