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We did it! The proposal to legalise whale killing went down in flames in Morocco -- and our campaign helped to tip the balance.
In a few short weeks, we built the biggest whale-saving petition in history, signed by an extraordinary 1.2 million of us worldwide, and delivered it directly to key delegates at the International Whaling Commission meeting. In the end, the 24 year old whaling ban was upheld.
The pro-whaling lobby tried to use political favours to win a so called 'compromise' that amounts to a quota for hunting whales, but as tension grew in the closed-door talks, our massive petition became a top story on the BBC's world news, and we worked with friendly negotiators and other allies to put pressure where it was most needed and draw greater global attention.
The Australian environment minister Peter Garrett received our petition for like-minded governments in front of the world's media and said "Thank you very much Avaaz. It is a great pleasure to be here and accept this petition ... I believe the people of the world's voices need to be heard. I certainly hear them today."
The U.S. delegation greeted us saying -- "Avaaz! We saw your billboard at the airport!" and delegates were overheard excitedly discussing our giant real-time petition counter outside the meeting as it blew far past the million mark.
After the meeting, one European negotiator told us: "We've managed to keep the ban in place...I've been checking the petition online. I was very impressed by how fast the numbers are rising and seeing people signing from across the world."
This is an important victory for whales -- and for global people power -- together we demonstrated that international decisions can be shifted by a little bit of well-placed effort from a lot of people everywhere.
But winning this battle won't guarantee the whales' safety yet -- Japan's "scientific" whaling fleet is already sailing out of harbour through IWC loopholes to kill hundreds of whales.
From: Avaaz.org is a 5.5-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.)
And Greenpeace is refusing to help.
South Korea resumes whale hunt