Photo credit: Families for a Livable Climate, Missoula, Montana, December 2019.
We invite you to bring the DearTomorrow Letters Project with your organization, classroom, workplace, place of worship or community event.DearTomorrow can be done in digital format during COVID19 or planned out for a future in-person event. In this project, participants can reflect upon and write about their thoughts and feelings about climate change, their hopes and visions for the future, and what actions they are willing to take. Participants dedicate their letter to their loved ones (children, grandchildren, students, community, or future self) living in the future.
Think of a person important in your life – your child, a friend, a family member or your future self. Imagine it is 2050 and they receive a message from you written today. Your message shares your thoughts about climate change and your promise to take action to ensure they have a safe and healthy world.
5 Steps for organizing a DearTomorrow Letters project:
Step 1: Determine your group, location and timeframe
The DearTomorrow letter writing project can be done online or in-person. The first step is thinking about who you want to engage, where and when. Organizers have previously carried out the DearTomorrow letter writing project within their non-profits, community organizations, businesses, and classrooms.
Step 2: Review letters and write your own
We know from feedback from hundreds of participants that writing a DearTomorrow letter can be a very meaningful and transformative experience, but it is not a simple task. To prepare yourself and community to do this activity, we highly recommend that all organizers and teams read through selected letters within our collection and take the time to write their own letters before organizing others.
Step 3: Set up the activity
Plan out your activity by selecting sample letters, preparing to read part or all of your own letter(s), and understanding the most meaningful climate actions for suggestions and inspiration.
Step 4: Carry out letter writing activity
A. Start by reading your own letter (and those of your main organizers/teammates) and a few sample letters from the collection. Check here, here and here for letter ideas.
B. Read the main DearTomorrow prompt aloud. Prompt: Think of a person important in your life – your child, a friend, a family member or your future self. Imagine it is 2050 and they receive a message from you written today. Your message shares your thoughts about climate change and your promise to take action to ensure they have a safe and healthy world.
C. Ask people to quietly imagine having this conversation with a person they love living in the future. Ask participants to write down to whom they will dedicate their letter. All letters should start “Dear/To__________”. Some examples have included: Dear Emma, To my loved ones, To my future children, To future me, To my grandchildren, Dear Tomorrow, To my community, and To future generations.
D. (Optional) Before asking people to write their letter, discuss with your group about what kinds of actions are most effective for reducing emissions and influence others to act. We recommend that organizers allow for participants to provide examples at the individual, community and political levels. See our inspiration page for DearTomorrow recommended actions.
E. Give people at least 30 minutes to reflect upon the main prompt and start their letter. While some participants may finish their letters within this timeframe, many people will need more time. Be sure to set a deadline and clear way for them to submit the letter to you. We recommend giving people the option of having 2-4 weeks to write and submit their letters.
F. Briefly discuss within your group how you might want to share your letters. Some ideas are on social media, sending to local and national policymakers, organizing a group or public reading, bringing a letter to a hearing or event, and/or organizing an exhibit.
Step 5: Submit the letters to our archive
As the main organizer, we ask you to ensure that the letters are included in our archive. All letters should be submitted to our Letter Submission Page. You can have participants directly submit and fill out the Consent Form online during the event or you can submit them after the event.