Ocean Keepers: Letter Writing | Healthy Oceans | Oceans | Our projects | Healthy Oceans | Issues
Photo: Ocean Keepers: Letter Writing

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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Tips for writing your letter to the editor:
  • 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 pacific@davidsuzuki.org so we know what you've been up to. Of course, please let us know if and when your letter has been published.

Suggested current topic for your letters:

The recent decision from the federal government to approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline has upped the importance to protect the Great Bear Sea.

The Great Bear Sea is one of the richest marine ecosystems left on Earth. It is a world treasure on par with the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest and its importance to our economy, our way of life and even our identity cannot be understated.

The Province of B.C. and 18 First Nations have worked together in an innovative partnership and made plans to protect the Great Bear Sea and the people and economies it supports. But they have not committed to sign the plan.

Recently, Obama announced a plan to create the world's largest ocean reserve. Australia and New Zealand also have significant safeguards for marine ecosystems. While Canada's coastal waters are under threat from increasing industrial use, we have protected less than three per cent of the Great Bear Sea.

This summer, B.C. will decide whether to adopt these state-of-the-art plans to protect our ocean. They will create zones for wildlife and ecosystem protection, and for ecotourism, renewable energy and aquaculture. We need to call on the provincial government to commit to protecting the Great Bear Sea.

Write to your local newspaper and let your community know why this is important to you. Without your support, this historic opportunity could pass us by.

  • 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 the ocean if possible.
  • 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 pacific@davidsuzuki.org so we can keep track.

Have any questions? Drop us a line at pacific@davidsuzuki.org.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/oceans/projects/healthy-oceans/ocean-keepers-letter-writing/