Junior EmmaMarie Hammond said she has learned three things from her internship with the Chequamegon chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) in northern Wisconsin: 1. Things don’t happen overnight; 2. Respect is essential; and 3. Bipartisan is sexy.
“Seriously. Bipartisanship is the next big thing,” she says. “We need combined efforts from both Republicans and Democrats in order to politically recognize and mitigate climate change—after all, everyone will be affected by climate change, regardless of political affiliation.”
Hammond, who is majoring in water science and minoring in environmental humanities, said she first learned about the CCL last winter when Chequamegon chapter leader, retired Bayfield attorney Bill Bussey, came to campus and spoke to the Northland College Environmental Council. Citizen Climate Lobby is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization with hundreds of chapters around the world.
“I was pretty hooked when Bill was talking about tackling climate change through policy and carbon fee and dividends,” Hammond said. Hammond took a position as an intern with CCL for the winter semester looking up climate change-related issues; sources and the complexities of carbon dioxide; and social, environmental, and economic scenarios associated with climate change.
“My intentions of attending Northland came with the intentions of pursuing a career in environmental policy, and CCL has been such a wonderful outlet,” Hammond said. “Young people have such a powerful voice. I’m hoping to help students at Northland use that voice with more opportunities to get involved with understanding and influencing policies.”
Hammond got to pitch her ideas to lawmakers in Washington DC this past June. She and fellow student Seth Bayliss, who is studying sustainable community development with a minor in sociology and social justice, alumnus Mike Pesko ‘73, and four other CCL representatives joined 1,300 citizens to lobby Congress for market-based solutions to climate change. Bayliss said he got involved with CCL through Hammond—they both are from Nebraska—and it has expanded his education.
“Considering I had never been to DC, the experience was memorable,” he said. “I loved the city and the energy and the chance to engage with government figures was humbling.”
The group tried to meet with Representative Sean Duffy from the College’s 7th congressional district but instead met with his aide. “He was receptive to the information we provided and so it was another respectful meeting on the books,” she said. Besides, Hammond is in for the long haul. Remember lesson number one?
“Change goes beyond hashtags, parades, marches, and dedicated months,” she said. “In no way are those efforts to be downgraded, but they should be acknowledged as short-term and used as outlets to encourage more long-term participation.”