24 August 2019

Set up an online petition calling for your council to declare a climate emergency

Online petitions are useful for attracting attention to your campaign calling for your local government to declare a climate emergency and reaching out to potential supporters.

Tabling a petition can be helpful to convince councillors that a broader part of the community genuinely is calling for them to make this move.

If you have not managed to persuade a Councillor to propose a climate emergency declaration motion, handing in a petition can be an effective way to open that discussion among councillors – about whether or not they should do this, and about why they should do it. It can be a way to get it on the agenda in the chamber.

Local media is often interested in reporting on the submission of a petition, especially if the number of signatures is high and a photo of the Mayor receiving the petition is available. This can be a good way to launch a public discussion about the topic in the media.

Petition templates and systems
We recommend using the ActionNetwork petition tool, which is easy to use, it is free, and you can decide what words and image you wish to use, unlike some of the other existing climate emergency declaration petition templates. Also, with an ActionNetwork petition you have full control over and access to the signers’ contact details.

Once the petition is set up on the ActionNetwork account, you can then embed it on your website, and when you feel you have enough signatures, you can print it on paper and hand it in.

If your group doesn’t have a website, we can set a page up for you on this website or on Cedamia’s website.

Most councils will only accept hardcopy petitions, where the list of names is printed on paper for tabling at a council meeting, so check your local council’s website for requirements.

The act of handing in the petition to your local Council is a photo opportunity for your campaign, so ideally you should make sure to get a 10-minute appointment with the Mayor, so you can have a photo taken when you hand the petition in. The photo can then be sent to local media along with a media release, and if possible even with a statement from the Mayor.

We recommend ask signers to write a personal message to the councillors, because this is often something Councillors will be reading and quoting from at their meeting.

→ Start an account and a new petition on ActionNetwork


→ See an ActionNetwork petition we set up for Australian psychologists here:

→ See Cedamia’s ActionNetwork petition template here:

If you would like to use the Cedamia petition template, but don’t feel confident about the technical side of setting up, Margaret from Cedamia offers to help set it up – to make it as easy as possible for you.