Avaaz appealed for support to counter a proposal to legalise commercial whale hunting, which was banned 24 years ago.
“A group of influential countries are negotiating the proposal right now in Florida. Once they make the proposal public — submitting it for adoption by the International Whaling Commission in June — it will be too late to influence its contents.
An outcry now–in the days and hours before the proposal’s release–could stiffen the spines of negotiators who want to protect whales by keeping whaling illegal. Avaaz has launched a last-moment petition which will be hand-delivered to the negotiators each time it reaches 100,000 signatures.
To parties of the International Whaling Commission:
As citizens from around the world we call on you to retain the International ban on commercial whaling as the core policy of the International Whaling Commission in its pursuit of conservation for whales.
The proposal was happily dropped and Ricken Patel of Avaaz.org sends an update:
We did it! The proposal to legalise whale killing went down in flames in Morocco — and our campaign helped to tip the balance.
In a few short weeks, we built the biggest whale-saving petition in history, signed by an extraordinary 1.2 million of us worldwide, and delivered it directly to key delegates at the International Whaling Commission meeting. In the end, the 24 year old whaling ban was upheld.
The pro-whaling lobby tried to use political favours to win a so called ‘compromise’ that amounts to a quota for hunting whales, but as tension grew in the closed-door talks, our massive petition became a top story on the BBC’s world news, and we worked with friendly negotiators and other allies to put pressure where it was most needed and draw greater global attention.
The Australian environment minister Peter Garrett received our petition for like-minded governments in front of the world’s media and said “Thank you very much Avaaz. It is a great pleasure to be here and accept this petition … I believe the people of the world’s voices need to be heard. I certainly hear them today.”
The US delegation greeted us saying — “Avaaz! We saw your billboard at the airport!” and delegates were overheard excitedly discussing our giant real-time petition counter outside the meeting as it blew far past the million mark.
After the meeting, one European negotiator told us: “We’ve managed to keep the ban in place…I’ve been checking the petition online. I was very impressed by how fast the numbers are rising and seeing people signing from across the world.”
This is an important victory for whales — and for global people power — together we demonstrated that international decisions can be shifted by a little bit of well-placed effort from a lot of people everywhere.
Over its short lifespan, our movement has exploded through a simple democratic idea: that people power can stand up and win against powerful special interests. Whether it be protecting whales, countering corruption, supporting authentic democracy movements or fighting for a global climate deal, we are coming together to bridge the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.
Now, if enough of us chip in just a small amount for Avaaz’s member-funded campaigning, we’ll have the strength to win even more victories. Click here now to donate —
Ricken, Alice, Paul, Mia, Ben, Luis, David, Graziela, Milena and the whole Avaaz team