I could spend half my day reading and deciding if I should sign petitions on Change.org — there are that many of them. I do take the time to read the ones that catch my attention. Sometimes I even pass the information on to you as I did with the petition demanding that Kraft remove artificial food dyes from products. So far, it doesn’t look as if that petition has made much of an impression on Kraft.

Sometimes, Change.org’s petitions do make a difference. Food Network acted quickly when conservation activist Jessica Belsky started a campaign requesting that the network become a leader in shark conservation.

I would like to see a policy in which the Food Network removes recipes featuring shark as an ingredient from Foodnetwork.com and other Food Network-owned Web sites and vows to not publish any shark recipes in the magazine or online. Additionally, shark should not be displayed as food on Food Network television programming. 

Please become a leader in shark conservation. Put a firm "no-shark" policy in place at the Food Network.

Within 10 days of the start of the petition, Food Network removed any recipe that featured shark from its website. It also issued this statement.
As a policy, Food Network and Cooking Channel do not incorporate or showcase recipes that involve animals on endangered species list or the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list, with the recent addition of sharks to those watch lists, we will make sure that future content does not highlight shark as an ingredient. We understand there are many species with sustainability concerns, and we make efforts to stay informed and pass that information onto our audience. - Susan Stockton, Food Network Kitchens.
Many sharks are in danger of becoming extinct. Sharks are vitally important to the ocean’s ecosystem. If the sharks aren’t there, it knocks the rest of the predatory system out of whack, and that affects everything in the ocean. Food Network has made a smart decision environmentally (and public relationship-wise) in responding to this petition.

It can make a difference when people speak up for change. Next time there’s a petition that catches your attention; give it the attention it deserves. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Food Network listens to public outcry
When a petition for the removal of shark meat from the network's television shows and online recipes went viral, Food Network acted quickly.