David Murray is a CAFOD volunteer and a climate activist from Wallington. David’s activism ranges from lobbying his local council to sharing CAFOD with young people in secondary schools. One of his skills and way to tackle climate change is writing letters to Newspapers. Today he is sharing with us some tips and examples.
Besides working for CAFOD, what do all these people have in common? Christine Allen, CAFOD director, her predecessor, Chris Bain, Anne Lindsay, Graham Gordon head of public policy and Hombeline Dulière, Syria crisis emergency programme manager? They’ve all written, and had published, letters to the papers concerning CAFOD’s work.
You don’t need a Lord title to get published!
To get published it helps to have a title such as company or NGO director, Doctor, PhD or medical, Lord or MP. But getting CAFOD mentioned is hard. So retired CAFOD volunteer, Mike McLoughlin, and I, both left-wing and untitled, write letters on politics and issues, such as economics, trade, poverty and climate change, relevant to CAFOD’s work and it gets published, see example below. When I quote I provide a reference.
|Making progress in fight against climate emergency|
Campaigners are right to demand “Sutton Council declare a “climate emergency””. But from, in 2014, having no specific climate change adaptation programme or action plan in place relating directly to the key deliverables identified in the Borough’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, due to a lack of available resources, Sutton Council, on paper at least, has made considerable strides.
The Borough’s strategy is consistent with the Mayor of London’s environment strategy which aims for a zero carbon city by 2050. However, although London’s greenhouse gas emissions are falling, the London Environment Strategy admits “the city remains over-reliant on the fossil fuels that are a major contributor to global warming. London is not yet on track to reduce its emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, or to meet national and international climate aims.” Clearly the campaigners need to keep up the pressure.
David Murray – SUTTON GUARDIAN – 11 April 2019
Keep it short and simple
Short letters do best – ideally 100 words or less. The Sun taught me a lesson. I sent a 332 word monster to get the subject off my chest, thinking they’ll never publish. They published after cutting it to 45 words! The Guardian rarely publishes a letter over 250 words and, for a chance of appearing the following day, should arrive no later than 2pm. I used to wonder why The Guardian asked for my phone number until they phoned to say they were considering my letter for publication the following day. Sadly since Covid-19 that’s very rare. Example below :
|Why do journalists confuse “paid” and “earned”? The Pakistani workers who were paid 29p an hour for making Boohoo clothes earned a lot more but others including the customers took their earnings. By contrast bankers are paid millions that they do not earn. If these words were used properly in the media it would be a small step towards an understanding of equality and fairness.|
The Guardian 23 December 2020
Email get a greater chance to be published
Email is favoured. Just Google, e.g. ‘Contact us The Guardian’ for the email address for Letters. The same Goggle works for most newspapers and journals. Both Mike and I send to The Guardian and the London Evening Standard. I also send to the New Statesman; Mike to Catholic papers.
|You write that “Poorer countries, which broadly speaking are the least to blame for the climate crisis – emitting less carbon dioxide per capita – will suffer most” (Editorial, 1 August). As overseas development charities like Cafod witness every day, there is no “will” about it. Poor people in poorer countries have been suffering the effects of climate change for many years. A 2013 DfID-funded paper found: “This analysis provides evidence that a drought in East Africa such as seen in 2011 has become more probable as a result of anthropogenic climate change.” The drought affected 10 million people in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Many of whom would have migrated, some possibly to Europe.|
Wallington, Surrey – 6 August 2019