In December last year ADMCF launched Hong Kong’s first environmental petition platform, SupportHK (www.supporthk.org). The impetus was the increasing and seemingly insurmountable nature of environmental challenges facing Hong Kong, coupled with a sense of disempowerment in the local community to make change.
Experience has shown, that uniting people under one voice on any issue is more effective than individuals working alone for change. Globally, there are numerous on-line petition sites that have empowered individuals and groups, helping them bring issues to the attention of companies and government worldwide. In Asia, the options for uniting voices are limited.
Looking at international petition websites and the changes that some petitions have helped push, we felt that such a platform focused on Hong Kong’s environmental and urban challenges could fill a gap and connect individuals. The idea was to enable concerned citizens to connect with and gather support from others, effectively amplifying voices to be heard by decision makers; be it government or business.
To put some of Hong Kong’s concerns in perspective;
– As both a free port and gateway to China, Hong Kong is a global hub for trading plants and animal species including seafood. Yet there is minimal legislation to protect endangered species. Sharks are a perfect example, where 50% of global imports come into Hong Kong’s ports yet only three (and soon to be eight) species are subject to any form of trade regulation. This is despite the fact that at least 141 species are being threatened with extinction
– With one of the world’s highest urban population densities per km2, many Hong Kong citizens find much needed respite from daily life in its country parks. These parks are also valued for their high levels of biodiversity, including rare and endangered species. Property developers, however, are increasingly setting their sights on building in some of these pristine environments with no concern for the environmental impacts or the local communities. The government seems unwilling to address the issues and today Hong Kong’s country parks as well as the plant and animal wildlife therein are under very real and increasing threat.
– Insufficient dog breeding laws mean that both significant government and NGO resources are spent on trying to manage the thousands of strays as well as puppies that are bred and often discarded every year. In the region of 7,000 dogs are euthanised annually and hundreds more wait patiently for homes in the few but dedicated animal welfare organisations.
The above issues reflect some of the recent and current petitions active on the website. In addition, there are many other areas where citizens are concerned, but don’t know how to facilitate change.
Uploading or signing a petition is secure and simple and takes just a few clicks of a mouse. Anyone can do this, but the focus must be on environmental, urban or animal welfare issues in Hong Kong.
The challenge now is to raise the profile of the site. We hope to achieve this primarily with social media, via both petition organisers and signers spreading the word. So, please visit the site and support some of the SupportHK’s petitions for a better environment.