Want climate action in a democracy? Get with local government. Period. End of story.

Got local government? Really. Do you really have it?

It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do. Your local government is trying to do things for you.  Sure, it is filled with “feasibility studies, property tax assessments, and endless meetings governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.” It may be difficult to keep track of what we do, but we affect your everyday life because of our work with police, traffic, land use and development, water, and sewage. And what’s more salient than water and sewage (said another way?)”

But really, participation matters. Inclusion matters. From top to bottom and left to right, from young and old, white and black, let’s work together. I was on Democracy Works podcast to say that citizens and the governments themselves have a role to play in changing the conversation. That was 2 years ago. We have so much more to do.

From the Podcast:

Peter Buckland is the Chair of the Board of Supervisors in Ferguson Township, Pennsylvania. You’ll hear him describe the area and the structure in the interview, but really Ferguson Township could be just about any municipality in America. He outlines three ways that citizens and local government can work together to create more informed and more vibrant democracy at the local level:

  1. Citizens should pay attention to meeting agendas.
  2. Municipalities should use a variety of communication tools to let constituents know what’s happening.
  3. Everyone should support local media so it can do its job of reporting on local government.

All of the small places add up and Peter shows how local governments working together can have a big change on national or global issues. Peter lead an effort to adopt a resolution calling for carbon neutrality in Ferguson Township by 2050. It’s easy for a cynic to say that one municipality of 20,000 people can’t change anything, but as you’ll hear, the idea is already starting to catch on.


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