By Cricket Clement and Simran Dhunna of Climate Justice Toronto & Our Time Toronto
Is climate change factoring into your decision of whether or not to have children in the future? This was the topic of a CBC News Ontario Today radio show hosted by Rita Celli on July 23rd.
It’s a topic that is a deeply personal one, and one that many young people today are grappling with. The current climate crisis will mean the lives of our generation and future generations will be much more fraught with climate impacts that will compound and escalate things like poverty, displacement, and food and water shortages.
And despite what some tout as the crux of this issue, including people who called into the CBC for that talk show, the climate crisis is not caused by overpopulation, nor will it be solved by population control. This kind of thinking distracts from the true causes of this climate emergency: capitalism, unceasing extractivism and growing inequity. Not to mention that the conversation around population control easily tends towards racism, eugenics, and reproductive coercion, and places the burden of this crisis on women and children.
It’s half of the reason why several organizers with Our Time Toronto called into the radio show. It was also to echo what thousands called for during the #ChangeTheDebate national day of action last Wednesday: for the CBC to host a federal leaders’ debate on the climate crisis and a Green New Deal.
You can listen to the radio show here, where you can hear David and Monica (10:50 and 21:30), both Our Time Organizers in Toronto, speak about how the climate crisis weighs on them, and why the CBC has the responsibility and power to host a Federal leaders’ debate on climate. Later on, you’ll hear Jasmine (45:22), a person not formerly involved with our time, express her support for a a climate debate, after hearing David and Monica’s call to action earlier in the show!
Want to make sure your voice is heard in the same way? Here’s how we did it:
Usually, CBC Radio 1 will announce the theme of their Ontario Today talk shows about 24 hours in advance, so, we turned on the Twitter alert for the CBC Radio 1 – Ontario Today’s twitter account and waited for a day that the theme was something to do with climate change.
Once we knew that the radio show was on a topic related to climate change, we communicated to our supporters our goal, how to call in, and gave them tips on how to center personal experience and pivot to the hard ask for the CBC host a federal leaders’ debate on the climate emergency.
These are the tips we sent around to organizers across the province:
- Prepare what you want to say. Write down a couple of points you want to make on the call. Don’t read verbatum. Speak from the heart and keep your message short. The more concise and clear you are, the more air time you will get.
- Call early and call often. These shows get a lot of callers, so call the line head of when the show is going to go live. If you don’t get through, keep trying. And once you hear ringing, don’t hang up.
- Convince the Call Screener. Before you get on the air, you’ll have to make the case of why you should go on. Offering to be a resource for the host will increase your chances of getting on the air, so volunteer an answer to a question or cover a topic raised by another caller. You may be asked for your name, location, phone number, and call topic. The screener will be in a hurry, so keep it short and to-the-point.
- Make your point and do it swiftly. If you make it on the show, don’t go down a winding story. Say what you have to say simply and clearly, and then stop. Let the host pick it up from there.
- Hold Your Ground. If the host interrupts, firmly and politely say, “May I please finish my point?” If the host tries to take you off-point, becomes aggressive, or insults you, stay calm and restate your point.
- Be polite and calm. You won’t impress anyone by attacking the host or being combative. Your goal is to be compelling, make it personal, and communicate your call to action for the CBC.
- Reduce background noise. When it is your turn to talk turn off your radio, and either speak directly into your phone (not on speakerphone) or use a hands-free headset so that you are as clear as possible.
- Finally, we let people know that if they had questions, they can find out more at our-time.ca
Even with following these instructions most people didn’t get on the air, but it was a team effort of many people trying to call in at once that ensured we had a few to make it on.
It’s a simple action that can really have results, so we hope that you all will try it out in your region too!
If you are able to make it work, let us know! Send us all the details at firstname.lastname@example.org.