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38 Degrees

Words by Lee Galacher

Photographs by Joey Dean

38 Degrees drummed up a huge ground swell of support during a campaign to save the UK’s forests from being sold off. With an online petition signed by over 500,000 people 38 degrees helped force the government to reverse plans to sell of nationally owned forestry to private companies.

38 Degrees uses the internet and social media to make it easy and effective for people to take action against government policy and hold Politian’s accountable for the consequences of their decisions.

The Save Our Forests Campaign launched on the 28th of October 2010, the day the plan government plans to sell of our forestry was announced.

In the time between the save our forest campaign gained huge support, with the 38 Degrees website claiming that;

  • Over 500,000 38 Degrees members signed the “Save Our Forests” petition
  • Over 100,000 38 Degrees members emailed or called their MPs urging them to stop the forest sell off
  • Hundreds of 38 Degrees members donated to fund a people-powered YouGov poll which found that 84% of the public wanted the forests kept in public hands
  • Thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in nearly £60,000 to pay for ads in national newspapers to highlight that 84% of the British public opposed the forest sale.
  • Over 30 local groups around the country sprung up to campaign to stop the sell-off
  • Over 220,000 38 Degrees members shared the campaign on Facebook

Growing up in Norfolk, I’ve had the opportunity as a child to experience the fantastic forest which surrounds my hometown to think that in future this may have been denied to children of Thetford without the dedication of groups such as 38 degrees would have been truly unbelievable as Thetford forest is a massive part of the town’s identity.

In comparison to the student riots that took place in the capital, which unsuccessfully attempted to reverse the tuition fees decision, the online digital protest by 38 degrees created news in a much more positive way. With so much of our lives digitalised nowadays why wouldn’t our right to protest become just another part of the digital landscape? While we were bombarded with images of the people on the streets participating in the student protest, it remained unsuccessful while the quiet, civilised and relatively peaceful 38 degrees campaign did manage to reverse the government’s decision.

Visit the 38 Degrees website to aid their campaign action.

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