Letter writing is a great way to get decision-makers to take issues seriously. Whether you want to write to the editor of your community newspaper, your city or First Nations councillors, provincial representatives or MP, we can help. Our recent letter-writing campaigns have helped drive public discussion around ocean issues. We're lucky to live in a democratic society where letters do make a difference.
A Letter to the Editor is an easy way to make a big impact. The editorial page is the most read section of the newspaper. Even if the editor doesn't publish your letter, they pay attention — especially to well-written letters related to a recently published article.
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- Make it relevant: Make sure your topic is timely — write in response to a recent article.
- Be concise: The first sentence should summarize your position. A common mistake is using the first paragraph (or the entire letter) to build to the point. Most editors read 2-3 sentences before making a decision to go on.
- Mind your word count: Check the guidelines for the paper you are targeting. If they give a word count, follow it. If they don't, 200 words is generally considered the maximum length. Most papers don't consider letters that exceed the word count.
- Check your spelling: Spell everything correctly and pay close attention to grammar. Editors choose well-written letters that meet their guidelines. We are happy to help you with editing if you send it to us first.
- Submit the letter: When you send your letter to paper, paste your letter directly into the body of an email rather than sending as an attachment. Many editors won't open attachments. Make sure to send a copy of the letter to email@example.com so we know what you've been up to. Of course, please let us know if and when your letter has been published.
When our humpback friend, KC got hit by a boat, it got us thinking about the impacts of tankers on B.C. whales.
British Columbians are rightfully worried about the possibility of a major oil spill on Pacific coastal ecosystems. A single oil spill could devastate the coast. But even without a spill, tankers can kill whales by hitting them, polluting them and disrupting their communication and sensitive hearing with excessive noise.
The whales of the B.C. coast will face increasing risk unless we plan our activities in advance of major decisions about ship traffic, pipelines and LNG terminals and shipping lanes.
But the shipping industry isn't joining others at the marine planning table and we think they need to know that developing marine plans and protected areas is an essential step to determine if — and where — pipelines, LNG terminals and shipping lanes that can accommodate higher volumes should be located.
For more information and background:
- Review our tips for writing letters to the editor, above
- Write your own letter to the editor (no more than 200 words) linking it to a recent article about pipelines, tankers or whales
- Send it to us if you would like some feedback
- Submit it to a British Columbian newspaper. If you don't live in B.C., feel free to write to your local paper, but please also submit it to a paper in B.C. to focus attention.
- Send us a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track.
Have any questions? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
- You've gotta be shipping me — our humpback friend "KC" was hit by a boat
- Shipping on the British Columbia Coast (pdf) by the Living Oceans Society