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 U.S. 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.
But winning this battle won’t guarantee the whales’ safety yet — Japan’s “scientific” whaling fleet is already sailing out of harbour through IWC loopholes to kill hundreds of whales.
To win for good, we’ll need to campaign to strengthen and reform the IWC, and to mobilise in countries with pro-whaling governments like Japan — where the Cabinet knows Avaaz and we have changed environmental policy in the past.
We can do it if enough of us chip in just a small amount a week. We’ve now reached 6,000 regular donors — if we get to 10,000 we can start funding campaigning in Japan and other key nations now. Click here to become an Avaaz sustainer and make it happen:
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, together 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