Stopping the Amazon Chainsaws
Earlier this year the Brazilian Congress, under the sway of powerful lobbies and interests, passed a catastrophic forestry bill that would have given loggers and farmers free rein to chop down huge swathes of the Amazon. As part of a powerful partnership with Greenpeace, WWF, key Brazilian organizations, and leading public figures, over 2 million Avaaz members pressured Brazil’s President Dilma to reject the bill and save the Amazon. Our message was driven home during a dramatic day of high level meetings with key ministers, and creative demonstrations in the capital, Brasília. Dilma responded by vetoing some of the most controversial parts of the law.
Protecting the Coral Sea
In Australia, thousands of us helped create the largest network of marine protected areas in the world. When public consultation on a proposed national marine park opened earlier this year, commercial fishing and mining companies went after it with all they had. But hundreds of thousands of Avaaz members signed a letter to the Environment Minister, and almost 30,000 flooded the public record with comments in favour of the proposal. The government was left with little doubt about where the people stood. The Australian public, with the support of citizens from everywhere, gave the government the needed mandate to protect this important stretch of the Coral Sea from mining, oil and gas development.
Climate Talks: Keeping Hope Alive
At critical climate talks in Durban, more than 800,000 of us helped ensure victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat. Our team on the ground in South Africa delivered our message day in and day out through hard-hitting actions like this ad in the Financial Times -- released on the final day of tense negotiations. Despite massive pressure by oil-friendly nations like the US and Canada, a deal was struck to save the vital Kyoto Protocol.
"Thanks to the over 800,000 people from around the world – your voices made a vital impact at the end of the talks.”
Guarding the Amazon
Half a million of us joined more than 1,000 indigenous protesters in demanding that Bolivian President Evo Morales halt construction of a highway that would slice through the heart of the Amazon. Avaaz staff met at length with top Bolivian cabinet ministers in a stormy meeting and our widespread solidarity strengthened the hand of the indigenous protesters. The pressure worked! After our campaign, Morales canceled construction, repealed the decision granting permission for the project, and pledged to protect the impacted TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory -- the crown jewel of the Bolivian Amazon -- forever! It was a huge victory; and if Morales ever tries to bring the project back from the dead, we’ll be there to stop him.
Blocking an Amazon-Destroying Mega-Dam
The proposed Belo Monte dam complex, an environmental catastrophe in the making, has been delayed -- thanks in part to the spectacular delivery led by indigenous tribes-people of more than 600,000 petition signatures from Avaazers in Brazil and around the world. The Organization of American States has now joined the opposition to the dam, saying it violates human rights -- and the momentum is building to cancel it and focus on clean renewable energy sources instead.
A Million-Strong Swarm to Save the Bees
Over a million people, including 200,000 in France, signed an explosive petition to ban pesticides that are mass-killing bees the world over -- and, standing with a team of French beekeepers, delivered the petition to the French Agriculture Minister at a major conference. The campaign continues, building pressure for action in France, the EU, and around the globe.
Keeping EU Food Safe and GMO Free
Over 1 million people from every country in the EU took part in the first-ever European Citizens' Initiative -- a process allowing people to lodge official petitions that require a response. Avaaz members called for an immediate freeze on genetically modified crops entering the EU until objective studies free from industry influence could show they were safe. The initiative sent a clear message to officials that Europe would not be force-fed unsafe food.
Millions for climate action
2007 - 2010
Since our first climate campaign kicked off in 2007, Avaaz has delivered millions of climate petition signatures to key leaders including the environment ministers of all the G8 countries and leaders in Brazil, Germany and Japan.
Giant postcards inviting world leaders to attend the climate summit were handed over to the British Prime Minister and other delegations at the 2009 G8 summit in L'Aquila. And there were extraordinary scenes in Copenhagen as youth from around the world staged a sit-in to deliver a petition -- reading out loud the names of 15 million people who had signed demanding a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal.
Protecting the Whales
In 2010, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) unveiled a proposal to legalise the slaughter and sale of whales, effectively overturning the decades-old ban on whaling. Together, Avaaz members built a massive campaign to stop the proposal -- signed by an extraordinary 1.3 million of us worldwide. The petition was delivered to the IWC meeting in front of the world’s media. The proposal collapsed and the whaling ban was upheld
It was a huge victory for whales, but Japan and others continue to exploit IWC loopholes. To win permanently, we’ll need to work together to strengthen and reform the Commission, and mobilise in countries with pro-whaling governments.
Saving the Oceans
The UK announced its plan to double the total global area of protected ocean with a massive new conservation zone bigger than Germany and Italy combined. In the public comment period before the decision, Avaaz members contributed more than 85% of the responses, urging a ban on commercial fishing and support for the island peoples' rights.
The UK Foreign Ministry cited the "over 221,000 responses co-ordinated by Avaaz ... from 223 countries" in its announcement. It was a major step forward, but continued pressure is needed to ensure a just outcome for Chagossian Islanders and Mauritius -- and to further protect oceans from overfishing.
At risk from poaching and habitat loss, elephants weren’t even on the endangered species list. But more than 500,000 of us worldwide took a stand alongside the African Elephant Coalition. After a close, nail-biting vote and final push with partners on the ground, we won protection for elephants at a UN Endangered Species session.
"The petition, no doubt, made a difference and helped achieve the right result for elephants everywhere."
Our leaders didn't make history -- but the world's people did. A year of unprecedented action on climate change reached unimagined heights, with thousands of vigils, rallies and protests, hundreds of thousands of phone calls, millions of petition signatures, and more.
While politicians failed to deliver a desperately needed deal to stop runaway climate change, the world’s citizens built a movement that can win the fight to save our planet. Click to see the pictures, videos, and messages from around the world after the summit -- and stay tuned to Avaaz for the next steps we’ll all need to take to combat climate change.
The Global Climate Wake-up Call
In 2009, Avaaz members and partners joined together to issue a deafening climate wake-up call to world leaders. At more than 2,600 events in 135 countries we called for changes to climate policy, demanding that leaders take the health of our planet seriously.
From signs and chants to creative demonstrations, we came together to make sure the world knew that time was ticking, the alarm was sounding, and action was necessary. The media couldn’t ignore our call, and neither could world leaders. Words can't describe it -- but this video gets close.
The Lungs of the Planet
In 2009, Brazil was on the verge of passing a law that would have handed over a large portion of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness for exploitation. In just two days, Avaaz members in Brazil made 14,000 phone calls and sent 30,000 online messages to President Lula's office. At the 11th hour, public pressure succeeded. We killed the bill and saved the forest.
Swine Flu and Factory Farms
At the onset of the H1N1 panic, a WHO scientist told Avaaz that research was needed into the possible role factory farming played in breeding the virus. The problem: the industrial meat lobby had blocked research for years. Avaaz stepped in. We brought a herd of 225 cardboard pigs to the World Health Organization, representing the 225,000 signatures on a petition for adequate research.
Initially skeptical, WHO Food Safety and Zoonoses director, Dr. Jørgen Schlundt, changed course – agreeing that global regulations were essential. This was just the first step in the fight for adequate research and regulation. Avaaz will continue to push hard for increased regulations. Click here to see photos and read the story.