Friday, August 8, 2008

Ineffectivity Not An Excuse for Inaction Anymore

I received a letter from Cathy Zoi, CEO of We Can Solve It website (URL: She noted last week the U.S. Congress left Washington. Of course, this leaves some unfinished business. In speedreading her email I thought to myself, "Oh, great . . . Another online petition which is totally a waste of time because the government doesn't take those seriously," but I clicked on the link and to my surprise I was redirected to a We Can Solve It webpage with the heading, Speak Out--Write a letter to the editor. You enter your zip code and then a huge list of links to email addresses for local, regional and national newspapers appears.

Newspapers now accept emailed opinions and what this tells me is that one of two groups of email users can benefit from the above feature on the We website:

1 The first group includes everyone that has a compulsion to send emails by the thousands to everyone they have ever met or heard of to complain about topics they have not researched or to implore that people sign up for online petitions (or one of hundreds of other topics such as lets get money from Microsoft by forwarding this email, lets make Timmy's last days happy by forwarding his email to millions). No, the online email feature won't help this group. They will continue to send a barrage of pleas for you to forward emails, add your name to an emailed petition, etc.

2 The second group includes everyone else with email accounts, and you know who you are, the individuals that complain about receiving group 1's email and how useless their electronic soapbox is and how they need to "get a life." I'm in group 2 by the way.

We's newspaper email links can help group 2 members and that means as a group 2 member I can no longer use the excuse that emailed petitions are ineffective and then sit on my derrierre and do nothing. So . . . at some point I may try my hand at writing a letter about an environmental concern to my
area and local newspapers! We's website even has a preview feature so you can proofread your letter before sending. The film, Shall We Gather at the River will be presented during the 10th Annual Conference on Tar Creek in September, and I have a feeling I may feel like writing a letter or two after viewing this film as will a number of others in the viewing audience.

Ms. Zoi reminded her readers that comments published in newspapers can fuel debates on the evening news. She stressed printed comments are an easy way to reach our Members of Congress who are home for the summer and read the opinion pages of the paper daily.

According to Zoi, typing an email. . . can make a huge difference in the public debate. My thoughts are i
f we don't speak out on environmental concerns, there is no debate. Like the old Harvey Cox quote, "Not to decide is to decide. . ."

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