Our mission was simple: Bring the voice of the world's people directly
into the summit. This was no easy task, as
high level summits like this one are almost designed to be insulated
from public opinion. But by the end, few governments if any had not
heard our voice.
On December 8th we organized
a global day of action. Avaaz members in 100 countries
organized or participated in local rallies to pressure their national
leaders for bold action in Bali.
At the same time, we brought
550,000 members' voices inside the conference center with a
high-profile "virtual march" of young people bearing world
flags representing the nations of Avaaz members that signed our global
petition. Not only did the delegates feel the impact directly, but
footage and images from the virtual march were broadcast by major
television and print media in markets across the globe -- bringing our
message back home in capital cities worldwide.
At the conference, the Avaaz
team helped lead the "Fossil of the Day" awards. These mock
awards cast a bright spotlight each day on the delegations that were
foot dragging and derailing progress. These awards earned major media
attention -- and major embarrassment for the offending nations. Avaaz
members then followed up by contacting their governments back home and
demanding a better performance. Suddenly, the people were in the
For 10 days, the Bali conference
proceeded slowly towards consensus. Then, with just a few days left,
three countries -- the US, Canada, and Japan -- moved to block the
consensus, objecting in particular to any targets for rich
countries to reduce their emissions. The US blocked the overall
conference, and Canada, which had signed the Kyoto protocol, used that
position to block other Kyoto countries from moving ahead without the
US. Bali was in danger of deadlock.
This crisis was what the
Avaaz network was made for – and Avaaz
members immediately sprang into action in the countries where rapid
pressure was needed the most.
In Japan, thousands of Avaaz members were alerted to email Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda overnight, demanding responsible leadership.
In the United States, tens of thousands of American Avaaz members co-signed an
urgent message to the conference delegates: Please ignore President
Bush's team -- they do not represent the American people.
In Canada, (and wow did Canadians step up on this!) more than 110,000
citizens demanded that their country stop blocking the talks, supported
an ad campaign in Canadian newspapers (shown at left), and
called the Prime Minister's office and their members of parliament. A
Canadian youth delegation in Bali constantly dogged their environment
minister with the Avaaz petition.
All over the world, more than 180,000 Avaaz members added their name to a
global emergency petition calling on Bush, Harper, and Fukuda to get on
the right side of history and support emissions cuts. We delivered
these signatures in a full page ad (shown at left) in the special
conference section of the Jakarta Post which was distributed to
every delegate in Bali. The ad caused a stir at the conference and was
widely reported in the media - it told the rest of the world to stand
firm against the climate wreckers.
Finally, Avaaz coordinated the
largest joint climate petition delivery in history, combining
petition efforts from nearly a dozen major environmental and
progressive organizations totaling over 2,600,000 voices for climate
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