Why petitions? Isn’t that achingly reformist and inadequate to the scale of the problem?
Yes, it is, but if you take the climate science seriously (and we do) then EVERYTHING is at this stage. And what petitions allow us to do is go through legal/democratic channels. It forces politicians to listen when they might easily ignore/turn their backs. It is also a “safe/easy/doable” action where some of the arrestable stuff, and the rhetoric around it – can be alienating/scary to other people
Are you an anarchist, socialist, liberal?
None of the above. Simply trying to use the existing channels.
So you think that if you succeed in forcing the Councils to declare an emergency you’ve achieved something?
We’re not even convinced that we can get the Councils to discuss it (the campaigns would need to hit their numbers). We’re then unconvinced that the Councils would say yes – that would depend in large part about how much pressure they came under ALONGSIDE the petition campaign.
And then we’re not at all sure the Councils would DO anything after they make the declaration. History tells us that the chance of declaration followed by business as usual is VERY high. Therefore the ponit of the campaign is to build skills, knowledge and relationships of broader networks who are able to hold the councils to account.
Sounds ambitious and totally unrealistic.
Yep, probably. But we have to try. And we have to innovate. The stale old format of top-down meetings, of clicktivism won’t work.
But wait, isn’t an e-petition PURE clicktivism?!
Yes, which is why we strongly encourage the use of paper petitions
There’s no substitute for getting out there and having face to face conversations
What else do you want to achieve?
It would be great if we could convince the councils to tweak their petitions systems so that emails can – on the agreement of the signatory – be shared with the organiser of the petition, or people have a ‘share with your friends’ button, as per Change.org and other sites. To increase virality.
So, how could I get involved then ?
We are looking for a couple of more people to help with the site and the campaign, but we’re REALLY looking for people who will help “on the ground”. The two organisers of this site are the founders of the Manchester and Stockport petitions. If you live in one of those areas, we’d like you to help out. If you live somewhere else that doesn’t have a petition yet, we’d like you to think about being involved. BUT a half-arsed petition is we think worse than useless. We don’t think that a petition should be started unless there is a group of connected people willing to do some serious (and quite boring, let’s be honest) work to support and sustain the campaign. The skills you need are the usual ones – basic literacy,