If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that Food & Water Watch works on a lot of issues -- and ask you to sign a lot of petitions. Together, we’re delivering hundreds of thousands of signatures and emails to our elected officials each year!
But it can be easy to get discouraged and feel frustrated that our elected officials don’t represent our interests. We get a lot of questions about if these signatures even matter.
The answer? They do matter. They matter a lot. And this frustration? It’s exactly what our opposition wants.
If enough people join us over time, they'll have no choice but to listen. And one of the ways we show power in numbers is with your petition signatures.
How is my signature used?
Your signature can be used in a few different key ways:
- Direct emails: usually, your message is immediately sent to the decision-maker. This is why you can sign more than once during a long campaign: each email will serve as a reminder to your elected officials -- who will at the very least get a regular count from their staff of how many people called and emailed about the topic.
- Petition deliveries: Once we have an impressive number of signatures on a petition, we’ll often hand-deliver them at a conference, rally, or press event. We print out copies of your signatures and deliver huge boxes to show visually how many signers we have, and to reinforce that the people speaking at the event have much wider support.
- Media: In addition to making a visual impact, it’s huge when we can tell media -- and other people who have influence over our petition targets -- that we have thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of signatures. This statistic can be widely shared and become very influential.
- We can keep you updated on fast-moving campaigns, victories, and important information. This is another key element of winning campaigns -- you’ll know about new and urgent opportunities to take action, we’ll share ways for you to get more involved like making phone calls or meeting with elected officials, and you can opt out at any time.
Examples of how petitions have directly contributed to campaign success
Here are a few of the many, many ways that your signatures have made a difference:
Beating Nestle in Oregon:
In an eight-year battle, Food & Water Watch put in a lot of work with local groups like Local Water Alliance in Oregon to block the multinational corporation Nestle from bottling water in the Columbia River Gorge. In that time, we submitted tens of thousands of public comments to state agencies -- according to the then-Governor’s office, the more letters, emails and phone calls than any other issue in Oregon. Oregon organizer Julia DeGraw attributes this as part of the strong groundwork that led to their landmark win.
Vetoing Port Ambrose in New York:
Together with a broad coalition of organizations, we generated tens of thousands of petitions and public comments to support a veto of a liquefied natural gas port proposed off the coast of New York. These signatures and comments, combined with hundreds of people packing meeting rooms and rallying against the project, were able to help show a mass of people that didn’t want this dangerous facility. And in November 2015, Governor Cuomo listened to the people and vetoed Port Ambrose.
2-Year Fracking Moratorium in Maryland:
Often cited in the lead-up to this win in Maryland, over 100 Western Maryland business owners, 100 health professionals, and over 50 restaurant owners, chefs, winemakers and farmers from across the state signed a letter supporting the fracking moratorium. Another big factor? Food & Water Watch supporters and the Don’t Frack Maryland Campaign sent over 25,000 additional messages.
What does Food & Water Watch do with my personal information?
At Food & Water Watch, we will never sell or trade your information -- and we only ask for the minimum amount of information that the petition recipient requires. We hope you’ll choose to get email updates from us so we can keep you informed about new developments in the campaign. Learn more about our data usage policy.
Recently, the White House started requiring phone numbers in addition to other information for petition signatures to be counted. We know that this is frustrating, and have passed on your complaints about this requirement (in addition to other requirements, like the title field). We hope these more stringent requirements won’t get in the way of people signing petitions, because signing matters -- it is important that our voices are heard.
Want to learn about other ways to make a difference? Check out our volunteer page to get involved in your community, or consider taking the next step and making a call to your elected officials about the issues that matter most to you.