How to Pass a Tar Sands Resolution at Town Meeting
1. Learn about your town. You'll need to read your town's website to figure out:
- Does your city or town have a Town Meeting system of government? Most small towns (under 12,000 people) have Town Meetings, but there are exceptions. Some larger towns also use the Town Meeting system.
- When are articles due? If your town has a Town Meeting, any citizen can submit resolutions (known as articles) for consideration. Most towns have their Annual Town Meeting in April or May, and resolutions areusually due between mid-January and the beginning of March -- it depends on the town.
- How many signatures do you need? In most places, 10 registered voters must sign the resolution before it can be submitted.
2. Submit your resolution. We have a sample resolution here, based on a successful resolution from Brookline, MA. You'll need to include signatures from fellow town residents (10 signatures from registered voters are usually required, along with full names and addresses). You may want to gather more than 10 signatures in case some prove to be invalid.
3. Organize! You might want to hold a potluck, house party or film screening to let others know about your efforts. Try to talk to as many fellow citizens as you can to spread the word and build support for your resolution.
3. Present at Town Meeting. In many cases, you'll be asked to make a Powerpoint presentation (sample slides coming soon!) We're happy to help you prepare to speak!
4. Let us know the results of the Town Meeting -- and celebrate your hard work!
How to Pass a Tar Sands Resolution through a Town or City Council
If your town has a Town or City Council instead of Town Meeting, you'll need to work directly with a sympathetic Town or City Councillor to pass the tar sands resolution. There's no deadline -- Town and City Councils can pass resolutions at any time of year!
If you know a City or Town Councillor personally, or if you know of a particular Councillor with an interest in environmental issues, that's a great place to start. If not, just look up your own City or Town Councillor and contact them. Here's a sample email that you can send. Don't be afraid to follow up with a phone call or two!
And get in touch with Emily Kirkland, firstname.lastname@example.org -- she can offer more resources and advice, and may be able to connect you to other interested people in your town.
- Sample town resolution (Word Doc) and Sample town resolution (PDF)
- Citizen's guide to Town Meeting
- Sample email to a Town or City Councillor (Word Doc)
- 350VT guide to passing tar sands resolutions
- One-page flier about the effort to ban tar sands oil