Finding Unity in Environmental Lobby Day

from Wildlife Promise

Over five hundred citizens gathered at the Washington State Capitol on February 15th for the 20th annual Environmental Lobby Day. They came together with the common purpose of expressing to their state legislators the importance of the four Environmental Priorities Coalition goals this legislative session in Washington: “Budget Solutions for our Environment”, “Coal Free Future for Washington”, “The 2011 Clean Water Jobs Act” and “Clean Fertilizers, Healthier Lakes and Rivers”.

As a volunteer at the event, I had to get from Seattle to Olympia especially early, and admittedly was a little weary when I arrived. My district meeting was not until noon and I already knew the environmental priorities pretty well, so I started to mingle. I met people from all over the state — young and old, students, members of conservation groups — all excited to use the power of persuasion on their legislators. Standing in a sea of green scarves, the enthusiasm and anticipation became contagious.

Citizen activists get ready to meet their legislators at Lobby Day in Olympia, Washington.

When it was time for my district meeting, I was greeted by twenty other 46th district constituents. I was amazed that in my district alone, twenty people drove or bused the sixty miles on a weekday to rally for the environment. We reviewed the four environmental priorities and discussed the major points we wanted to stress. Common themes, including the “polluters pay” principle, restoring Puget Sound, public health, and creating a cleaner Pacific Northwest for our children, were expressed throughout the group and became the focus of our impending debate.

As I walked up the Capitol steps — armed with information from the Environmental Priorities Coalition and backed by my district neighbors — I was ready to take my legislators head-on. But contrary to my expectations, I didn’t need to spend much time making my case, as I learned that my all of my legislators were supportive of the environmental priorities.

In the end, I took away a newfound sense of pride for my local community knowing that I have neighbors who hold the same value in our environment, and policymakers at the Capitol to support those values. I also learned about the power of lobbying to influence legislation and as a tool for change. I want to thank People for Puget Sound for organizing such a great event — I will definitely be attending next year.

Learn more about how YOU can create positive change that helps protect wildlife, natural places and our children’s future by sharing important information with legislators and others in your community.