Main Article Content
E-petitioning related to environmental matters is a rather new participatory behavior in the Romanian society and it seems to attract more and more the attention of a larger public (not just a minority of educated eco-citizens or experts in related fields). Lately, in Romania there were a few major e-petitioning campaigns trying to stop large and popular economic investments projects that were detrimental to the environment (the most visible are petitions fighting the building of microdams on mountain rivers, regional landfills, mining projects). Also, those campaigns led to media coverage, brought on a public debate through some media channels, revealed serious problems with how the state authorizes such projects, and even managed to get the attention of the European Commission. None of these would have been possible without the very source of large public mobilization on an environmental matter, e-participation and e-petitions.
Thus, the paper investigates e-petitions in the environmental field in order to understand their impact on environmental problems, and also, most importantly, if these e-petitions manage to influence environmental policy and governance. For decades, through the entire process of European integration, Romania has struggled with meeting the environmental standards required by the EU. Data is lacking or unreliable, there is a culture of lack of transparency related to environmental matters both in the public and in the private sector, and Romania needs to seriously address this problem. The paper provides an investigation of ‘if’ and ‘how’ e-petitioning could be a tool to move state and society towards effective environmental governance in the Romanian context.