The thought of confrontation makes me cringe – especially in today’s world where some enjoy it too much. How can an environmentalist be too shy to speak out?

Not all environmentalist are activists in a way that you envision an activist. Carrying a megaphone is not the only way to voice your concerns.  For me it is the written word.  For others it comes out in their art. Most importantly for us all, it comes from our actions.

The written word can be used in many ways and by just about anyone.  But there are still some who will shy away from writing a letter to the editor, or other correspondence like a letter to their employer, where showing their identity can create an uncomfortable situation.

The comment box is a great place to let your voice be heard if you are too shy to shout from the mountain top.  The message is just as loud. And there are many opportunities in your week to leave a comment.

Restaurants – How many times have you been out and the servers seem to be on autopilot – large glass of water, straws, and excessive amounts of paper napkins plopped on the table – every table. Or if you drive through someplace and ask for one packet of something and you get 15.  I know, eating at home is much better and controllable, but we all find ourselves in situations where we need to grab a bite on the road.

Food waste is another big issue with restaurants.  Wayne and I try to share a meal if we are out, but that does not always work. If we let our favorite eating establishments know that we would like the option of a smaller portion, and they hear it from enough people, changes will be made. After all, they are there to serve you.

Leaving a comment card with the server is easy to do.  I have some pre-printed comment cards here you can download. Or just write a note and leave it with your receipt.

Grocery Stores – Dread comes over me these days when I think of going to a grocery store.  Some I can’t bare to step inside as they have rows and rows of junk food dominating the front of the store, all in some sort of plastic.  Can we ever win?  We can try.

The thought of eliminating all that plastic in the grocery store can feel overwhelming, but what about going after one thing that has a great impact?

For me, I want to start a major campaign against the single use water bottles, and specifically at Costco.  I love Costco. In fact, I used to work for them and opened two of their first four stores. I know their philosophy and think they might listen if enough of us use our pens to shout out our concerns.

It just takes some thought.  The models are there. Eliminate the single use and offer water stations to refill larger bottles provided at very low cost. Just give the water away.  They practically give the single-use cases away now.

Customers will still go shopping at the store. I am amazed at how many cases of single use 12 ounce water bottles are on people’s carts. Why?

Grocery stores usually have their own comment boxes and cards.  It may ask for your name, but if that makes you uncomfortable, just leave it off.

Parking – It is exciting to see more and more advertisements for electric vehicles.  I can’t wait to see them lined up at car dealership lots!  But having owned an EV, I know that most parking lots do not have a charging station.  Very soon that will be moot because of the extended range the new models are offering. Charging at home will be enough. But there are those occasions when you run out of charge or need to go a longer distance.

Leaving a comment card requesting the establishment put in an EV “Fast” charging station will help.  Mainly in places you spend at least 30 minutes, like grocery stores, gyms, or outdoor recreation facilities. And you don’t need to have an EV of your own – yet – to share your comment.

Here is a premade card you can use.

Other ideas for local businesses would be to suggest solar on the roof, LED lighting, reusable everything, and programmable thermostats.

What can you do?

  • Carry a few 3×5 cards/paper with you to leave comments.
  • Print the two cards we already created for you.
  • What local business would benefit from hearing comments from the community (like Costco for me)? Share the idea with your groups and have everyone leave comment cards.  Someone may be comfortable with writing a local letter to the editor about the same topic.

What would you like to see change in your community and how will you let your comments be heard?

REQUEST:  If you have successfully seen a change in your community due to using a written word campaign, would you share your story?  I want to add some stories to my book in the next revision. Thanks!