The Open Letter Campaign Calls Out International Leaders For ‘Failing to Address Climate Change’

Two Massachusetts residents have already raised $20,000 to try and get the letter published in the Wall Street Journal.

Photo via The Open Letter

Photo via The Open Letter

Print isn’t dead, and apparently it’s still the best way to get a message to political leaders across the country.

That’s at least according to two activists leading an letter campaign about the severity of climate change with the ultimate goal of raising thousands of dollars in order to buy a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal.

“We are just two people who really care about [the impacts of climate change],” said Mike Gintz, one of the organizers and creators of the “Open Letter” project, and accompanying fundraiser. “The whole point is to attract an absurd amount of attention. The campaign itself acts as a focal point for that attention.”

Last year, as New England experienced one of the hottest summers on record, Brighton resident Jordyn Bonds decided she needed to do something to further the conversation about how the changing climate is threatening the future.

She wrote a lengthy letter, venting her frustrations about the lack of leadership for tackling climate change, but only intended to put it on her personal blog. After showing it to Gintz, however, the duo decided they should take it to the masses and get as many eyes on the letter as possible. “It’s an issue we have been concerned about for a long time, and we felt like nothing we are doing, or could do, would help in time. I was increasingly despairing about it,” she said.

After spending roughly a year tweaking, fine-tuning, and perfecting their message, Gintz and Bonds—who both work full-time “making the Internet more user-friendly,”—created their online campaign and fundraiser in order to spread the word.

In the four days since they put the IndieGoGo campaign online, they have raised more than $25,000. But they are hoping to reach their intended goal—$161,000—in order to pay for the ad. “We are not getting paid, there is no overhead … there is the cost of the ad and the platform fees. We were committed to keeping it that way,” said Bonds.

The actual text of the letter points a finger at not only politicians, but also influential news agencies, the heads of corporations, and even wealthy entrepreneurs with a lot of social pull. It urges them to use their authority to further the message about the concerns of climate change, and how it will shape the environment for the future, telling them that “profound action must be taken immediately.”

According to the letter, which calls out President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and England’s Prime Minister:

Generations before you faced challenges similar in scale and moral weight: fascism, genocide, epidemics, inequality. They are rightly remembered for bravely confronting the quandaries history presented to them. Unlike them, you dally in the face of this challenge and so, unlike them, you will be remembered as the generation who knew better but did nothing out of selfish shortsightedness.

The letter goes on to say what each member of a specific affiliation can do to spur the conversation, and keep it on the forefront of the agenda. “As the powerful and wealthy, your influence can make an enormous difference—probably the difference—in halting climate change. Act now. Stop worrying about what’s possible and start doing what’s necessary. Earn your children’s respect. Redeem humanity,” the letter states.

While the list of those who are urged to step up to the plate and push for change is lengthy at best, Gintz and Bonds admit there are people that have done their due-diligence in order to make a difference—but it’s not enough. “Out of the list of people we are calling out, some are well-meaning people working to accomplish this in the ways they know how,” said Gintz. [But] some are selfish and short-sighted people, and they are intentionally perverting the conversation about this, or are full-on working against it. Collectively, we think they could all be doing more.

The campaign will run online for 26 more days, and during that time Gintz and Bonds hope to meet their goal. If they don’t, they will use what money they raise to print the ad in the next best place. In the meantime, they are encouraging people to share the letter online, using an option on their website. “As long as we can keep up that momentum its absolutely an achievable goal. It’s really going to have to be a group effort,” Gintz said.