Hosted by Susan

In the wake of the 2016 election, Sean was emerging from the first few all consuming years of parenting. He felt compelled to join with others to work toward something meaningful. He was invited to join Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), which resonated with a long held understanding of the reality of climate change. Invited to reflect on his past several years involved in this work, he uses the word thrilling. Part of it is being involved in the climate movement, where decades of technological development, economic shifts and social movements are now converging on so many possible inflection points for remaking how energy is made and used. Equally motivating is the empowerment that comes from realizing we can speak up and that our voice matters.   

“I didn’t know you could do that” is the punchline of two of Sean’s stories of constituent meetings with federal and state legislators. In one, a fellow volunteer says those words to convey a new understanding of the power of his voice, an understanding if likely to influence his civic engagement. Another time, those words are uttered by a legislator in response to ideas presented for doable policy solutions, indicating a new conversation is now possible. 

Sean was hooked after his first experience of CCL’s annual lobby of Congress. To describe it, he reminds us that we see Congress from afar, perhaps on TV, often with some of the 435 members shouting at one another. Put on a suit, go through security, and you’re inside what Sean refers to as a sacred part of our democracy. In the halls or elevator, you run into the people you see on TV. You meet with members of their staff who are working hard to create change. You receive feedback on how much this meeting, with volunteer constituents instead of paid lobbyists, is. You learn that phone calls are counted weekly, and just 50 of them in a district of 700,000 can make an issue a higher priority. Compared to far away, up close Congress looks different, and much more positive. And when you’re in that sacred space doing the sacred work of saving lives and making them better by addressing the damage wrought by the climate crisis, all the better, because every bit of harm reduction matters.

Sean Dague is a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a grassroots climate advocacy organization that exists to create the political will for climate solutions, and by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power. He is one of the leaders of the Mid Hudson Chapter of CCL, as well as active in the NY State Action team, and a NY State Coordinator. In those roles he’s given dozens of climate presentations, and lobbied members of congress and NY State reps on over 40 occasions, pushing for climate solutions. He’s excited about how much better a clean energy future will be after his experience converting his home in the town of Lagrange to geothermal heating and cooling. His day job is as a software architect with IBM’s Quantum Computing team.

To get involved, click join on Citizens’ Climate Lobby - depending on where you live, you may get connected to Sean!