→ I support causes I’m sensitive to.
→ I use the Internet to call attention to important topics.
For a while I’ve been seeing petitions to sign run by on the internet (a few months ago it was about bulls in spanish corridas, today it’s about consumer product lifecycles), and so today, I’ve decided to look into this. I always wonder what impact such an approach has, what commitment it entails, how far does it reach out…
After digging for a short while, I realized the topic isn’t simple, even downright thorny. Not all petitions fit under the same label. Most of those petitions available on the internet are supported by private websites set up for the citizens that we are. These websites earn revenue, often thanks to the NGOs and charities that are lobbying for these advocacy campaigns. So sometimes petitions are submitted by single individuals, sometimes charities and foundations, and even though they sometimes produce a significant impact, mostly their goal is raise awareness in general.
There are also some petitions that aim to call the European Union to make a statement on critical social problems. The EU has built-in rules that enjoin it to consider topics submitted to it by the people, if over one million signatories sign on. For example, this is happening today for a movement that wishes the EU to take a harder stance on uses of plastics, to reduce the amount of plastic trash ending up in the sea.
In the end, personally, I’m still a bit skeptical of the impact these can have, and even though the concept is appealing, I kind of feel it’s just a teaser in a the movie theaters: “it gives us a feel of the topic for us to dig deeper if we’re interested”.
For me, signing a petition is a good start but it’s definitely not enough. Why is it a good start? Well, we can connect to values we want to defend, even to the point of involving political systems, but if we really believe in it, we must implement our ideas ourselves, in our daily life. A bit like the petition I just signed that calls to reducing plastic bags and pouches in supermarkets, which I support directly by always having a couple recyclable multi-purpose bags myself. What do you think about it?