E-Petition Saves Rainforest in French Guiana

I am starting a new feature on Global Wire in conjuction with DigiActive called Tech Watch.

I was inspired by 08NTC to look more into how technology is changing the way the world connects, with specific attention to how traditionally marginalized populations are using it for advancement and social justice. Check it out below:

Description: The French government was scheduled to start gold mining in a nature reserve in French Guiana, but an email campaign started by a concerned scientist and his student made all the difference in saving the ecosystem in this South American protectorate. The duo started the campaign with organization Ecological Internet weeks before the French Government gave the final contract to Canadian gold corporation Cambior.

Scientist Pita Verweij and her student Liesbeth Fontein researched consequences of gold mining, like deforestation and water pollution and took action.

Digital Activism tools: website, e-petition campaign

How These Tools Are Being Used: An action alert was post on Ecological Internet’s website in September 2006, describing the detrimental effects of industrial mining on the area’s environment and indigenous people. Below the action alert is space for activists to co-sign their names to a pre-generated protest letter that would automatically be emailed to then French President Jacques Chirac.

Outcome: According to Verweij, ten thousands of protest mails were sent to the French government. The project stalled in October 2006 due to the volume of emails. The government finally decided not to grant the contract and cancelled the project in February 2008.

“The world needs to stop looking for easy answers to failing global ecosystems; and commence radical, even revolutionary, means to protect our atmosphere, land, water and oceans, said Ecological Internet president Glen Barry in a statement.“The Earth and humanity’s very survival — being — depends upon protecting and restoring intact ecosystems, ending burning of fossil fuels, reducing human population and consumption, and other sufficient actions to avert global ecological collapse.”

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