Do you support shark conservation and the creation of shark sanctuaries? Showcase your support using the Shark Stanley “campaign-in-a-box” to build awareness and to highlight the faces of shark conservation to policymakers. The campaign in a box concept is simple. We provide materials that can be used by anyone to run a shark conservation campaign. Built into the campaign is enough flexibility to allow Shark Stanley “Friends” to educate, advocate, and win hearts and minds. The same materials can be used by a grade school teacher for lessons on science, art, and geography or by an international shark conservationist to advocate for shark protections with governments.
Here are the basics:
- Visit www.SharkStanley.com
- Download, print, and cutout the Shark Stanley character. You can laminate your character to make it a little sturdier. You can also print out Shark Stanley’s friends and take pictures with them too.
- Photograph yourself and your friends holding the Shark Stanley character(s). Read 10 Tips for Taking Great Shark Stanley Photos for ideas.
- Share the photos with your social networks on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, tagging the photo with #SharkStanley. You can also tag us on Facebook at @SharkStanley, on Twitter at @TheSharkStanley, and Instagram at @SharkStanley.
- Email your best photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have more than ten photos, we can help you set-up a drop box to send them. The best photos will be eligible for prizes - details to come!
We recommend getting help from professional conservationists when you advocate for shark protections. They will be able to support you by making recommendations on what policies are needed, the best mechanisms for implementing those policies, and the decision makers who have the power to put those policies in place. Our advice is to add your support to that of an existing shark conservation campaign.
Here are some tips for communicating the support you have created:
Be specific about what you are asking
A professional conservation organization can advise you on the policy that you should advocate for. In order to protect sharks, we can change laws, regulations, policies, or international agreements. This can be accomplished by passing legislation, going through the regulatory process, issuing an executive order, or getting all members of an international body to agree on something, respectively. There may be other ways of protecting sharks, but this covers all the shark fin trade bans, shark sanctuaries, and international and regional agreements created thus far. For example, Shark Stanley asked government participating in the CITES meetings in 2013 to vote “yes” on shark protections. In 2011, Students in Guam specifically asked their senators to pass Bill 44. A blanket call to protect sharks or end “finning” does not help. In fact, you should know the difference between finning, fin trade bans, and shark fishing. You have to be specific by spelling out what it is you want to change.
Target the person or organization you want to take action
Your petition has to explain how you want to protect sharks AND it also has to target the person who is going to do it. Are you asking your legislature to pass a law? Do you want the president to sign it? Do you want the foreign minister to support something at an international meeting? Whatever policy it is you want changed, there is a real human being who will have to either change it or carry it out. That person has an email address and an office with both a mailbox and a telephone. Figure out whom that person or persons may be, and make them the target of your efforts.
Deliver your petition
All your effort creating a specific ask to a targeted person will have been a waste of time if your petition is not delivered. Some of the petition websites deliver emails to the targets, but not all of them do. You can also deliver your petition in person by printing it up, putting a cover sheet on it and carrying it to your target’s office. You can also deliver it via the media. Call up a local reporter and tell them how many people signed your petition and see if they’ll write a story.
Use proper spelling and grammar
Make sure that you double-check your work! Ask your parents or teacher to help you to make sure that you’re using proper spelling and grammar.
And most importantly, stand out from the crowd. Policy makers receive a barrage of communication from their constituents. There are already a mess of shark petitions out there, not to mention petitions for every other advocacy issue under the sun. You need to make your voice and the voice of your supporters heard above all that noise. What’s your creative idea?