Today, information from around the world is almost instantaneous. We receive images from events taking place all around the world and the world is able to respond. Not all information is generally good in fact, most of it is to ask for assistance in spreading word of injustices happening to people and places all over the world. We have seen and heard about some of these injustices such as; the right for women to receive proper education, equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans gendered people, equality for minority groups, protection of sensitive geographical locations on the earth and so on.
When you receive a petition, do you generally dismiss it or are you more than likely to sign them in order to create positive change in the world? And by signing, do you feel that a particular petition will make a difference? After some careful research, I believe they do. Here are some examples of some successful petitions:
- Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, Environment America and other organizations started a petition to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s Standards for limiting carbon pollution from power plants.
OUTCOME: In the first 10 weeks over 1.4 million signatures were received. According to Change.org: “By utilizing promoted sponsored campaigns on Change.org, these organizations increased the number of people voicing public support for the Carbon Pollution Standard to the EPA by 300% for a total of 2.1 million comments. This is the largest number of signatures and comments submitted to any federal regulation in the U.S. history.”
- Avaaz.org, 350.org and 1,700 other organizations decided to deliver the largest mobilization on climate change in history. Avaaz Executive Director, Ricken Patel presented a 2 million strong petition to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon on the march in New York, calling for 100% clean energy worldwide.
OUTCOME: The marches let to many leaders at the following UN summit acknowledging the pressure coming from the streets. The pressure is working – less than two months after the march, the US and China signed a landmark agreement, including new targets for carbon emission reductions by the US and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030.
- Michigan high school student Katy Butler, 17, and Change.org organizer Mark Anthony Dingbaum delivered petitions with over 300,000 signatures to the Motion Picture Association of America in Los Angeles on March 7, 2012, asking the group to change the R rating on the anti-bullying documentary Bully.
OUTCOME: In April, the Weinstein Company came to an agreement with the MPAA. After toning the profanity, the film received a new rating of PG-13 (for intense thematic material, disturbing content and some strong language – all involving kids), which meant that children of all ages could watch the movie without and adult. The Weinstein Company subsequently announced that the PG-13 rated version of Bully would be released nationwide.
- Greenpeace’s ‘SAVE THE ARCTIC’ campaign from SHELL has gathered over 7.3 million signatures to date. Their goal is to reach 10 million signatures and stop Shell and the Russian oil and gas giant, Gazprom to access the Arctic through Russia.
Petitions are important and vital to a campaign because the people or companies that the specific petition is written for tend to receive their message loud and clear. If the countries or companies in question don’t listen – they end up losing votes or losing money and that speaks loud and clear.
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!