I am tired of seeing people complain online about the problems they see in the world without doing anything about it. Calling my representatives feels like a waste of time, and writing emails feels ineffective. I learned recently that representatives are required to log ever contact from their constituent, and that there is a hierarchy.
Letter writing hierarchy
As you might have guessed, the more difficult and/or time-consuming the form of contact, the more value it holds.
- Hand-written letter – most valuable
- Typed letter
- Phone call
- Email – least valuable
- Complaining on social media – waste of time
There is an important piece of legislation, that is currently stalled in the California Congress. SB 54 and AB 1080 is known as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction act.
In a nutshell, it aims to eliminate any unnecessary plastic packaging, and any other plastic packaging that cannot actually be recycled or replaced with something less polluting.
I find sending emails and making phone calls to be uncomfortable and in a way too passive. Instead, I decided to write a letter – a hand-written letter.
Feel free to click on the link below to the typed version for some hints on proper formatting and decorum. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to refer to someone you don’t know and might actively despise as Honorable, but if you want to be effective, you need to know how to play the game.
The actual letter
It took a while to write this letter. I don’t exactly use cursive often, and it’s a little messy, but commands more attention than a typed letter or email would have.
I’d like to hear from you
What has your experience been like reaching out to your elected officials? Have you had any luck? Positive or negative, I would like to hear about it. Share your experience in the comments below, or by sending me an email!
About the author
Jonathan Levy is an environmental consultant focused in solid waste and zero waste lifestyle enthusiast. When he isn’t knee-deep in a dumpster, you can find him entrenched in a book, hiking the San Gabriel mountains, or tending to his composting worms.
Other posts by Jonathan Levy
SB 54 and AB 1080 – California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act
Yes! So much power of handwritten letters and grassroots efforts!
Somehow I don’t believe it would even be read. At least an email has a tracking number. Even if they don’t do anything.
My understanding is they log all communications by type and issue. I don’t know if they put my weight in a handwritten note or not, but it did feel more impactful than rattling off an email.
I love this! I think it’s so important to get involved with local government – that’s where you’ll definitely notice the most changes! Think big, act local. I definitely want to become more involved in my own community, and this is a great way to do exactly that. Thank you for sharing!