Several times a week subscribers to the Avaaz email newsletter can see the organization in action. From the decimation of African elephants to the immigration disaster unfolding in slow motion in the Mediterranean, from the plight of the behemoths of the oceans, to the threat to valued public lands by mining interests in the American Southwest, Avaaz projects are working to address global issues.
Avaaz—“voice” in several languages of the Middle East, Asia and Europe—is only five years old, but it has already had an important impact on the motivation of citizens to become involved in the issues that are impacting lives in the present and will continue to impact the generations to come. With core teams on 6 continents, the community launches its on-line communication and petition campaigns in 15 languages. A membership of over 41 million worldwide is taking action that includes generating petitions, media campaigns, lobbying government representatives and promoting citizen participation in events and protests.
The power of the Internet has removed constraints to the ways that global GSNs can generate support and involvement. Avaaz has seen success in long-term program development, and in “fire truck” response to urgent emergencies. Avaaz, coordinating with 350.org, was instrumental in mobilizing the 400,000 marchers who participated in the September 2014 climate march in New York City and in related marches around the world. Also in 2014, Avaaz campaigning helped release aid supplies directed to Syrian refugees, which had been sequestered on the Turkish border for months.
Current priority campaigns for the organization include a petition campaign that is tantalizingly close to one million signatures. It calls for the US Congress to repeal a section of a recently passed defense bill that contained a hidden provision authorizing a foreign mining company to open national forest land at Oak Flat, Arizona; public land that is also valued by the Apache tribe. The petition emergency is contrasted by activist planning for the COP21 meeting in Paris, which includes calls for demonstrations and donations for planning and action. Avaaz headlines the campaign, which has been at the top of their priority since before the NYC climate march, “24 Months to Save the World.”
Other current programs include a petition directed to Craig’s List where black-market trade in ivory is flourishing, and one directed to St. Kitts and Nevis demanding that they remove their “flag of convenience” from a ship carrying whale meat to Japan, in an effort to limit the hunt in the North Atlantic for endangered fin whales.
In just the last few days, an Avaaz campaign to develop an EU-wide migration plan has seen results with Avaaz reporting that EU leaders have agreed to triple the budget for search and rescue in the Mediterranean, and to offer sanctuary to up to 40,000 conflict refugees. The crisis continues as other nations persist in limiting routes and immigration.
With 41 million stakeholders connected in their membership, activism via their Internet platform and with their work to address a broad array of global problems using distinctly non-governmental channels, Avaaz is a quintessential global solution network.
The GSNs at Work blog series highlights the important work of GSNs across all our hub topics. The posts in this series are featured on the AT WORK page.