Hi-Tech Advocacy in Action
“We put a flag at half staff marking the locations of all the mountains that have been eliminated, and people can go and see them for themselves and read stories of the mountains, and they can even submit their own stories,” Hitt says. “So it’s this online, interactive memorial.”
The Google Earth technology probably is the most helpful in the campaign’s effort to put the issue into perspective for visitors because of the scale of mountaintop removal, Hitt says. The only other way to show its effects to people is by taking supporters in an airplane, but that’s cost prohibitive and wouldn’t allow the message to reach nearly as many people.
Hitt says, at its simplest, the goal of the campaign is to spread the word about mountaintop removal, with the hope that this will round up supporters who eventually will take more action.
“People are much more inclined to sign up to help spread the word or to receive more information than they are to write to their congress person,” she says. “And so part of the concept of it is, ultimately, to stop mountaintop removal we’re going to have to pass legislation at the federal level, and that is going to require a very strong network of people from all over the country to do that. So we’re building that network of people.”
Online advocacy campaigns involve an upfront technical investment, and Hitt says they’re no substitute for on-the-ground organizing. But it’s worth it, she says, in that online advocacy raises the profile of an issue and offers another way to engage constituents.
For more information or to contact Mary Anne Hitt, visit www.ilovemountains.org