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The Power of Persistent Advocacy

Question & Answer with Scott Greenler

July 24, 2018


Scott Greenler has been involved in several FCNL young adult programs focused on addressing climate change, including Spring Lobby Weekend, Advocacy Corps, and as a Young Fellow. Throughout these programs, he focused on climate change. In this Q&A, he shares about his experiences advocating for environmental justice with FCNL.

When did you first find FCNL as a conduit for your engagement?

In 2015, I was a junior in college, studying environmental biology. I was keenly aware of the issue of climate change and trying to find out what I could do to get involved. That year, I found out about FCNL’s Spring Lobby Weekend. I was fortunate to be able to attend with a small group of students from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

What was the climate “ask” you brought to Congress?

The ask that FCNL had for us that year was focused on a bill called the Promoting Resilience and Efficiency in Preparing for Attacks and Responding to Emergencies (PREPARE) Act. The PREPARE Act helps federal agencies coordinate with state and local stakeholders to better respond to natural disasters caused by extreme weather. It would not solve the climate crisis, but it would help address some of its effects. More importantly, it would prompt members of Congress to think about how extreme weather exacerbated by climate change is affecting people’s lives.

If this bill won’t even come close to solving the climate crisis, why advocate for it?

It’s all about finding ways to get things moving in the right direction, even if it is slow. Sometimes to get someone to take a leap of faith, you first must get them to confidently take a small step. By finding ways for elected officials to consider new points of view, we get them closer to being able to enact the robust reform needed to address the climate crisis.

What happened with the PREPARE Act after Spring Lobby Weekend?

After Spring Lobby Weekend, the PREPARE Act was referred to committee, and continued to gain cosponsors. In 2014 the PREPARE Act had 17 cosponsors in the House. In 2015 that number grew to 29. After leaving Spring Lobby Weekend, I was inspired to join FCNL’s Advocacy Corps to continue working on this issue. As an Advocacy Corps organizer, I continued to advocate for the PREPARE Act. Early this year, while working as an FCNL Young Fellow, the PREPARE Act passed the House as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4). It awaits passage in the Senate.

What is your biggest takeaway from this work?

Watching the bill steadily gain traction and finally pass the House of Representatives reminds me that my lobbying, along with over 200 young adults at the 2015 Spring Lobby Weekend, helped influence policy. It also reminds me of the importance of persistent, respectful advocacy. Even as the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement and the administration continues to roll back environmental regulations, the House of Representatives can enact laws to help protect people from the effects of increasingly extreme weather. I think it is important to remember that the climate crisis won’t be solved in a day. It is important to take small steps in the right direction that encourage discourse and civility, while providing a path forward.

Scott Greenler has been involved in several FCNL young adult programs focused on addressing climate change, including Spring Lobby Weekend, Advocacy Corps, and as a Young Fellow. Throughout these programs, he focused on climate change.

Advocacy Resource Climate Questions for Candidates 

With the 2018 midterms approaching, candidates will be out in states and districts holding constituent forums and events. These events are great opportunities to engage candidates on important issues like climate change.