Online activism is sometimes disparagingly called “slacktivism.” While it’s true that more direct actions (e.g., phone calls, marches, protests, boycotts, face-to-face conversations, and personal letters) can sometimes be the most effective ways to effect change, online petitions and information-sharing through social media are essential parts of grassroots communication and participation these days. And well-crafted petitions that get a lot of signatures do get noticed by their recipients and can be very effective.
I often sign at least one or two online petitions a day. It only takes a couple of minutes, and I’ve been heartened to see that many of those past petition campaigns have been successful in effecting their intended changes.
If you’re not already on the mailing list to get emails from the organizations and websites listed below, you might want to check some of them out. The first set of sites feature petitions that are focused primarily on environmental campaigns, while the second set have petitions on a variety of social, economic, environmental, and political causes. On a few of the sites (including Care2, Change.org, MoveOn, and The White House’s We the People site), you can also create your own petitions.
These sites are focused primarily on efforts in the United States. If you know of good environmental petition sites for other countries or international issues, please mention those in the Comments!
Note: This is not an endorsement of all of the petitions that appear or have appeared on these sites. While I have often found many of their petitions to be sound, I don’t necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in every petition from these sources.
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Rainforest Site / GreaterGood
Care2 / The Petition Site
The White House’s “We the People” petition site
(You can filter the petitions by issue, or look at the most popular or most recent petitions.)
Courage Campaign (for California)