Letters to the Editor (LTEs) are an important tool for all ocean activists. Writing an LTE is a simple way to reach a large audience, educate your community, and show your elected officials that you care about an issue. Plus, writing an LTE is simple. All it takes is 20-30 minutes and a little creativity!
Here’s how to do it:
- Find an article in your local newspaper or on their website that relates to the topic you’re concerned with, i.e. offshore drilling, seismic blasting, climate change or clean energy.
You can also write an LTE in reference to an upcoming event, like World Oceans Day, Hands Across the Sand, the anniversary of the B.P. Disaster, a summer holiday that you spend on the beach, or an upcoming hearing or vote.
- Begin your letter by referencing the article by name.
- Write a couple paragraphs on the topic, making it as personal to you as possible. Don’t just tell them that you want to stop new offshore drilling, tell them why it is so important to you. For example, do you enjoy fishing? Seafood? Swimming? Going to the beach? Dolphins and whales?
Here’s an example:
In response to this article: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-07-14/news/fl-online-letter2-20130714_1_airgun-whales-florida-beach
- Connection to the article
I was saddened to see David Fleshler's July 10th article about two whales dying after beaching on Jupiter Island.
- Whether you agree or disagree
Imagine, instead of two whales stranded on a Florida beach, hundreds or thousands stranded all along the East Coast.
- Connect to our campaign, and describe why it’s important
If seismic airgun testing is allowed, beach strandings could become a more common occurrence here in Florida.
- Give a fact or two to support your point.
Seismic airgun testing is a procedure used to look for oil and gas. A vessel tows an airgun that shoots extremely loud blasts of compressed air to the seafloor to look for oil and gas. This goes on every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for days to weeks on end. The U.S. Department of Interior is currently considering allowing this procedure to happen off the Atlantic coast from Delaware to Florida. The government's own estimates confirm that as many as 138,000 dolphins and whales will be at risk for injury, beach stranding, or death.
- Make a “call to action” and tell them what readers should do!
We must protect Florida beaches and the wildlife that inhabits it. President Obama, the Department of Interior, and all of our elected officials, must take a stand against seismic airgun testing.
- Keep it short and to the point (150-200 words). Some key ideas to communicate:
- Offshore Drilling is dirty and dangerous. Coastal communities cannot afford to suffer a BP-like disaster off the East Coast.
- President Obama should keep the East Coast off limits to offshore drilling and seismic blasting permanently.
- President Obama and coastal Governors should reject all proposals to allow seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Instead, elected officials should pursue clean energy alternatives like offshore wind power.
- Call the editor to confirm they got your submission and ask if they will run it. You can also set up a Google Alert for your name.
- If it gets printed, send them to your elected officials especially your U.S. Representatives and Senators! And let us know so we can make sure decision-makers in DC see it too.
Submitting your LTE:
- Major newspapers allow letters to be submitted by email or electronic form on their website. Simply go to the “Opinion” section of the newspaper website and there should be a link to submit a letter.
- Be sure to include all your contact information when you submit your letter. Many
newspapers will call the authors before printing, to confirm authorship.
- If you submit your letter via email, please Blind Copy (BCC) email@example.com so we know you submitted it and can keep track of your hard work.
- Keep your eyes open for the letter to appear in the paper and/or give them a call to ask if they are going to print it, and do let us know if it gets printed!