HOW TO ORGANIZE AND WIN AN ENVIRONMENTAL BATTLE
These suggestions come from Dolores Blalock who successful led environmental struggles on Oahu and in Northern Louisiana.
- RESEARCH: Spend at least three weeks day and night doing online research on all aspects of your topic. Keep a list of your main sources. Put these on a chart for your future use and others.
- WRITE UP RESEARCH: Write in a readable non-technical style. Explain the background, current situation, and the dangers.
- LOCATE THE BEST ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER FOR YOUR FIELD. This is important. Start at the top with the lawyers in place to give advice first before starting the group and the struggle. Must locate a dedicated person who is willing to help you for free because he or she sees the importance. Need a specialist in environmental law. A top ten school background is helpful. Washington DC location is helpful. Earthjustice is a top- of-the-line organization. But locate the lawyer by name who has won the most cases in the area that you need. This person’s name may surface in the course of your research.
You will need three lawyers: 1) Lawyer in Washington DC. 2)
Environmental attorneys in the largest city in your state. 3) Also a local attorney who is aligned with your cause. All provide guidance at various times. Seek out these people. They are essential.
- WRITE FOR MEDIA: Know How to Write for Media or work with a person trained in media and public relations. Or learn the following fast:
How to write a press release.
How to sell through advertising: Target Audience, Benefits, and Selling Points.
How to write a Print Ad and flyer. Work with a graphic designer on the flyers.
How to write a TV ad.
Make out your media list state wide and nationally…include names and e-mails and phone numbers.
Work with your state Press Bureau. Learn how to send out statewide press releases to print, radio and TV quickly. Be prepared to pay the cost for this. (Around $250 or more for all three mediums).
Get to know the best reporters working on the largest papers. Provide them with information.
You must know how to write a formal business letter and official memos and how to write a research report.
If you can locate an editor of a specialized newspaper who is aligned with your struggle, pay attention. Write articles for that paper to get the word out.
- REGISTER AND PAY STATE REGISTRATION FEES (@ $120) FOR A NAME TO USE FOR YOUR PRESS RELEASES AND GROUP ORGANIZATION…USE AN LLC.
- CONNECT WITH OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS. STATE AND NATIONA. Do this once you have your message together. Speak on their conference calls. Just as you did with the attorney, start by working with at least one influential and knowledgeable person, very experienced, in the national group. This person provides advice, guidance and contacts. Have this person help you force the offending organization put all relevant documents to the problem up on their site online available for everyone to use for research nationally.
- SOCIAL MEDIA. Set up a FACEBOOK site and put your research on it. NOTE: a lot of the preceding work happens before the grass roots group is organized and put into action.
- CALL A MEETING: Get local people in the room. Book the large library conference room to start. ORGANIZE THESE PEOPLE. Have regular meetings. Communicate by conference calls and e-mails between meetings.
- HAVE AN AGENDA. GET VOLUNTEERS. ORGANIZE INTO ACTION GROUPS. Get media contacts from people in this group…and from the environmental groups you are working with state and nationally.
- MAKE OUT YOUR LOCAL AND NATIONAL MEDIA ACTION PLAN. LIST EVEYONE YOU ARE GOING TO CONTACT AND ALL YOU ARE GOING TO DO AND PUT IT ON A CHART WITH A TIME LINE.
ADD OFFICES OF STATE AND FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS. ADD LOCAL MAYORS AND OFFICIALS. Have very specific names, phone numbers and e mails.
Send this to your main reporter contact. Send it to your local legal contact. Send it to one compatible local state Representative. Realize this information may be leaked in some way. That’s fine.
- ATTRACT Ph.D. scientists to your group. When these people show up to meetings, pay attention. They will be people who live in the threatened area. They will help with understanding the technical aspects of the problem.
- LOCATE CONSULTANTS AND EXPERTS IN DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM. These people will live in the threatened area. Track them down through the writing on the Internet and through times when they are mentioned in the local newspapers talking about the topic. Call and interview them to learn. Invite them to meetings.
- SPEAK AT COMMUNITY MEETINGS CALLED ON THE TOPIC. SPEAK BEFORE GROUPS OF CHURCH LEADERS AND ANY GROUPS THAT MIGHT HELP YOUR CAUSE. Provide flyers and informational handouts for them to share with their groups. You need to be a good speaker. You need to be unafraid to put influential people on the spot in public. Have research handouts available for the audience. Make yourself available for TV news interviews.
- REALIZE YOU ARE IN A WAR. A BATTLE. Your life and time will not be business as usual. If you are leading a struggle that involves life and death, illness or health for an entire region you need to accept this and acquire the tunnel vision and focus that this requires. This is not optional.
- REALIZE EACH PERSON STEPS IN TO CONTRIBUTE WHAT HE OR SHE KNOWS. Each person in your group will contribute their specialty. The structure will evolve naturally this way. Prepare to be amazed.