How to write a letter to the editor to protect the environment

Letters to the editor are a powerful way for you to get your perspective on an issue covered in the news. A published letter can help spark conversation on an important topic and move people to take action, and it's easy to get started.

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First, pick the topic that you want to bring attention to. Do you want to save the bees? Are you concerned about the problem of plastic pollution? Pick a topic where you want to make a difference.

Next, follow these 5 tips for writing your first letter to the editor.

1. Be concise

Letters should be under 200 words and are more likely to get printed if they are shorter. Each outlet also has their own rules for length or other requirements, so check those before you start writing.

2. Focus on one message

You don’t have a lot of space or to make your point, so focus on just one message whether it is a fact, story or particular aspect of the issue. 

3. Make it personal

The best letters have their own voice. Share how the issue impacts you and your community and what makes you passionate about the solution. Convey your feelings and outrage, but avoid exaggeration.

4. Make it timely

News outlets want to cover topics that are timely and relevant for their audience, so it should be clear why the paper should publish your letter today instead of next month or next year. Some of the ways to hook your letter to timely activities is to respond to a recent article, event or connect to current events like anniversaries.

5. Follow up

The outlet needs to be able to contact you to confirm the letter before running it, so include your name, address and phone number on your submission. After submitting your letter for publication, you should call the paper to ask when they are going to print it. Making a follow up call can help your letter stand out from all the other submissions.


Sample outline

  • Start with a catchy lead including your timely hook
  • Describe the problem including why you are concerned
  • State the solution
  • Wrap it up with any personal call to action for the reader