Mile-High Activism Energizes Coloradans
On a sunny Saturday in late October, 50 Sierra Club volunteers turned out for two "urban hikes" to canvass door-to-door in the Denver and Boulder areas. That's Rocky Mountain Chapter volunteer Wende Reoch above in white shirt, getting briefed before the Denver event. Participants distributed free compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs to their neighbors, talked about the Club's 2% Solutions to Global Warming campaign, and collected petition signatures asking Governor Bill Ritter to adopt Clean Car Standards as a major plank in his upcoming Climate Plan, expected to be announced sometime in November.
Colorado Sierra Club organizer Roger Singer, below, oversaw the canvas in Denver, and colleague Katie Ryder ran the event in Longmont, a fast-growing suburb 10 miles northeast of Boulder. Approximately 730 CFL light bulbs were given out, and the majority of people who accepted the bulbs signed the Clean Car petition. Many people at the door also provided their e-mail information to sign up for Convio, an online service providing non-profits with efficient and effective ways to reach and mobilize their constituents.
Volunteers reported during post-canvass debriefing sessions that having the CFLs, below, to give away greatly increased their comfort level going door-to-foor.
To recruit volunteers, the Sierra Club's Boulder office sent out a postcard with a humorous slant to Denver- and Boulder-area members, and e-mailed them before and after the card was sent. The October canvassing events were also advertised on chapter and group Web sites and in newsletters, and members in the two target areas who had attended chapter meetings or signed up for other Club events in recent months received phone calls shortly before the canvass. Chapter energy committee members helped with direct phone contact efforts.
Leading up to the canvass, Singer, Ryder, and chapter volunteers organized several social, outings, and educational events, including a well-attended house party and BBQ, a picnic, a renewable energy presentation at a local church, and a hike to St. Mary's Glacier in nearby Arapahoe National Forest. "These activities definitely helped draw in a portion of our 50 volunteers," Singer says, "and they're great community-building activities."
The Club's outreach campaign(s) also got a nice boost when Singer was quoted in a Denver Post article on energy development alternatives in the state three days prior to the Denver and Longmont canvasses. Read more about smart energy solutions and what the Club is doing to combat global warming.
All photos by Jeannette Markham.