Just a few weeks ago, an international campaign to stop the annual gruesome slaughter of dolphins in Japan was initiated by one Scottish woman hoping to make a difference. Shona Lewendon started a petition to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requesting that Japan be denied the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games until they ban the annual slaughter of dolphins in the cove of Taiji, a tradition that has been occurring for a long time.
Within just five days of posting her petition online, she received 10,000 signatures. Since then, the petition has continued to grow, gaining more and more support from people all around the world. Her campaign has even won the support of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
This petition is considered an effective way to encourage change because Japan is so eager to host the Olympic Games, having submitted bids three consecutive times. However, in order to receive the honor of hosting the Olympic Games, Japan must comply with the Olympic Charter which contains a mandate for environmental responsibility under the Rules and Responsibilities of the IOC. This mandate states that the IOC must “encourage and support a responsible concern for environmental issues.”
This is the leverage that Lewendon’s petition uses to encourage an end to the horrific slaughter of dolphins in Japan. The slaughter of marine mammals cannot be allowed to continue. This is an interesting example of using alternative strategies to raise awareness about an important conservation issue and potentially affect change.The petition can be found here.