This year, I celebrated the Fourth of July
early, and in a way I've never done before. There were no fireworks,
patriotic songs or apple pies. With the exception of a few people I
knew, I was with 600 total strangers, some 2,800 miles from my home.
Yet, I have never felt as patriotic as I did on June 24.
participating in a Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) conference, in
Washington, D.C. We descended on Capitol Hill to talk with our senators,
members of Congress and their staffs about the possibility of slowing
global warming by putting a price on carbon pollution.
Most of us
were volunteers who, like myself, had never lobbied before. Yet, with
careful coaching by CCL staff and experienced members, we familiarized
ourselves with our elected officials and their districts' issues,
planned and conducted our meetings, took notes and debriefed after each
I felt proud of our system of government and very pleased
to participate in the democratic process. I'll still be able to enjoy
fireworks and patriotic music today. But if I had to choose between
those expressions of patriotism or lobbying in Washington, I'd go back
in a heartbeat.