What you should know about online petitions

computer keyboard

Petitions on the world wide web is a tool that has been used in quite a few successful campaigns, from politics, to religion and sports issues.
Web-based petitions are said to be an early-stage political strategy that can assist in building a more robust campaign and serve many purposes, including:

  • Sending a signal of public opinion to decision makers
  • Telling the media there is adequate public attention to report on it
  • Building a following who are interested in an issue
  • Creating additional action and raising cash

Online petitions are very similar to their paper predecessors of years past, when folks with clipboards collected signatures and passed them along to lawmakers and legislators. Those petitions were often a good first step, although they did not singularly achieve change.

What’s different about e-petitions is they allow people to gather more signatures more quickly through email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The ease of creating a petition and spreading it to the masses have led to more of them – good and bad.

Petitions need a clear and tangible focus

Wise organizations launch online petitions that are credible and can act as a solid base for enacting changing. After all, singing a petition to solve climate change is basically pointless.

A solid campaign strategy requires much more than a long-term, wide-arching goal: It must be directed at a clear target — think person, government or company — and a decisive action it wants the target to take.

No single act will solve any big issue.  However, a well-timed, well thought-out petition that attracts supports and engages people will have much more potential to succeed.

While collecting a list of interested people is only a start, it must be coupled with seeking a defined focus of change.

What to think about before signing

Thinking about signing an online petition? It’s rather important to vet who is sponsoring it and decide whether or not it is legit. In short, it’s good to be suspicious.

There are many things to keep in mind:

  1. Do you trust the organization sponsoring the petition?
  2. Is there a clear target?
  3. Do you think change is possible? Has the organization broken the issue down into winnable steps?
  4. You may be asked for cash
  5. You may be asked to do more
  6. You may be asked to help spread the campaign on Facebook.
  7. You may even be asked to become a leader in your community.

What that all means is your job is not complete after you sign. Whether you’re fighting to end nuclear war or for the rights of a union of drywall contractors in Erie, Pennsylvania, you will be prompted to continue to support the cause.

Different kinds of petitions

There are petitions that don’t stand a chance at changing the world. Yet, it still feels right and good to sign them.

They won’t enact change, but there is quite a bit of awesomeness behind them. Such a petition may be inviting people to wish a celebrity a happy birthday. That probably won’t change the celebrity’s day, but folks will fell happy to share their love and admiration for that person.

On other type of petition that feels great to support works more like a collective thumbs up (or down).

A fan of a football team that is on a long losing streak will likely be happy to sign a petition calling for a firing of the coach. It may help you vent some frustration, but coaches probably shouldn’t fired nor policy changed based on a tiny window of input from people who are upset in the moment.

What does signing mean?

Your signature means quite a bit to an advocacy organization. When you add your name and contact information to a petition online, that organization considers you a member.

In yesteryear, if you supported a cause, you wrote a small check to the construction company, or organization, which then sent you mail during the year and kept you up to date on the cause. At the conclusion of the year, it would ask for more money.

Nowadays, right after you sign a petition you are added to a member list and easy to reach by email. Campaigns aggressively send signers petitions from similar campaigns and ask them to get involved.

It is the organization’s responsibility to build a relationship with those people, connect with them in a meaningful way, and encourage them to get involved in future causes.

In closing

The strongest social change organizations tend to launch the most viable and potentially viral petitions, strengthening language, providing tactical advice and connecting petitioners with members of the media. This goes to benefit both the host organization and its causes.

Remember, online petitions are just the start of any campaign. A solid petition helps ignite a fight that needs actual leadership, strategy, organization, funding and continued efforts from those who are impassioned enough to enter the fight after they sign their name and hit “enter” on their mobile device or keyboard.

Legal Stuff

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Why you should start a petition

Signing petitions is a great way to make a difference in your community, country, and world.

Believe it or not, there are literally thousands of worthy petitions across the world wide web ready to be signed right now … by you.

What do you believe in? What do you stand for?

Support your cause and stand up for others by starting your own petition.


You may be asking yourself: Do petitions really work?

Do governments even acknowledge petitions anymore?

Are they useful at all?

The answer is yes, and you can be an activist.

The right to petition is actually protected in the first amendment. It is one of five freedoms bestowed upon every citizen of the United States of America.

  1. The right to relgion
  2. The right to free speech
  3. The right to free press
  4. The right to assembly
  5. The right to PETITION

Petitions are the essence of democracy. It is our opportunity and right to air any grievances we have with our government.

If you have a problem with your government, talking to a friend about it around the water cooler or at the local tavern, will not result in any changes. You have to write it down on paper (or online) and obtain a number of signatures.

Petitions do indeed create change. Consider these instances:

  • In 1897, Hawaiians successfully petitioned the annexation of the Hawaiian islands.
  • More recently, on 2012, an organization petitioned to make cellphone blocking legal.
  • In November 2015, Taco Bell opted only to use eggs from cage-free chickens after a petition forced the franchise’s hand.
  • A month later, in December 2015, Congress was petitioned to extend healthcare to September 11 first responders. It passed!
  • Best of all, a group of angry citizens in Western New York petitioned plumbers in Cheektowaga to provide free estimates.

So how do you start a petition?

It used to be difficult, but these days, we’re happy to say, it can be quite easy. Many websites can actually assist you in producing a fully-functioning petition, as well as resources to help you get the word once you start your petition.

We recommend change.org. Plus, the U.S. government and European parliament both have petition sites as way to get your grievances directly to the source.

If you believe in something, if you want to see change, we suggest you sign a petition today or start one of your own.

Why you should sign the petition

Some very good reasons to sign:

To preserve biodiversity

  • Because cork oak forests are ecological sanctuaries
  • They are home to an exceptional flora and fauna, including several endangered species. These include the
  • Iberian lynx (there are only 150 individuals in Portugal), and the Iberian imperial eagle (one of the most
  • endangered raptors, there are only 150 pairs in Spain and Portugal)…
  • The suberaies (Mediterranean oak forests) belong to one of the richest plant heritage in the world after the tropical Andes (up to 135 species per m2)
  • However, they could be threatened by urbanization and the abandonment of a sustainable management method (the traditional method of harvesting cork does not destroy the tree, but rather guarantees the renewal of this forest resource, because the cork naturally regenerates).

To fight against the greenhouse effect

  • Cork oak forests are excellent carbon sinks
  • Portugal’s cork oak forests alone sequester 4.8 million tonnes of CO2 / year, or 5% of the country’s emissions. They represent 32% of the global surface of suberaies.
  • 1.3 hectare of forest to produce 1 ton of corks, absorbs 2 tons of CO2 in 1 year.

To preserve nature

  • Cork oaks naturally play a role as a bulwark against the erosion, desertification and fires that regularly occur in the Mediterranean region.

To preserve men and a fair form of work

  • 100,000 people live with cork via the cork stopper on the Mediterranean rim, from Portugal to Algeria
  • The cork oak forests are home to a local economy and valuable know-how: Iberian pork, mushroom picking (Spain, Portugal, Italy), firewood collection (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), tourism …

The cork oak forests are maintained by those who live there, for the manufacture of cork stoppers for still wines and sparkling wines (70% of the economic production of a suberaie), and for the manufacture of insulation materials ecological and efficient.

Your Signatures = Our Commitment

How to support our action?

  1. Go to the “Sign the Petition” page
  2. Fill in the fields of the form then click on “I validate” . Your signature will be automatically saved.
  3. Talk about this petition to your friends . Small branches make big trees!

Our commitment

The professionals of Liège (the French Federation of Cork Trade Unions, the Portuguese Association of Cork, and the Cork Institute of America) undertake to finance the sustainable management or the planting of 1 cork oak tree every 6 signatures. To avoid a “symbolic” commitment and turn this petition into concrete action, we set ourselves a goal of 10,000 signatures, which corresponds to the maintenance of more than 1,500 trees.

A concrete restoration project, useful and urgent.

Our partner

The Mediterranean Institute of Cork (IML), an association that works on the planting and the maintenance of suberaies in the South of France. Your signatures will be transformed into a financing that will carry out a 7.5 hectare project.

Who are we?

Cork professionals (APCOR – Portuguese Association of Cork, and FFSL – French Federation of Cork Trade Unions).