Global Climate Strike: Which companies are closing their doors?

"We know that reaching zero emissions by 2030 won’t be easy. But this is not the time to shy away from the challenge," Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said in a statement.
Image: Teen Activist Greta Thunberg Joins Climate Strike Outside The White House
Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joins student environmental advocates during a strike to demand action be taken on climate change outside the White House on Sept. 13, 2019.Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

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By Farah Otero-Amad

If you've got a hankering for an ice cream cone to cool off Friday, you won't be able to get one at Ben & Jerry's — at least for part of the day. The company, along with several other brands and retailers, will temporarily close its doors in support of the Global Climate Strike.

The strike, which begins three days before the U.N. Climate Summit, hopes to put pressure on politicians and policy makers to combat climate change. Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, will lead the worldwide movement in New York on Friday. A second wave of protests is also scheduled for Sept. 27.

Over 6,000 websites are also striking on Friday including Tumblr, Imgur and World Press. These websites are donating ad space, spreading the world on social media, and adding a banner to their websites in solidarity with Thunberg and other young people striking for climate change.

"It is becoming clear that climate is a crisis right now and it affects every single person. Every corner of the world needs to take action," said Shuo Peskoe-Yang, with Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization. "Companies and websites are seeing the writing on the wall."

Companies like Burton and Patagonia will be shutting down both their online and physical stores. For 24 hours, Burton.com will not take orders or make any sales worldwide — the site will re-direct users to the Global Climate Strike website to help build awareness for the cause. In addition, all of their owned stores will be used as a community space for strikers. Patagonia will close its doors worldwide to empower employees to join their local demonstrations.

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"For decades, many corporations have single-mindedly pursued profits at the expense of everything else — employees, communities and the air, land and water we all share," Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario wrote in a LinkedIn post. "Now we face a dangerously hot and fast-changing climate that is exacerbating natural disasters, causing food and water shortages, and speeding us toward the biggest economic catastrophe in history. The plain truth is that capitalism needs to evolve if humanity is going to survive."

She says that while it is encouraging to see some of the world's most powerful corporations — including JP Morgan Chase & Co, General Motors, and Amazon — acknowledge that they have responsibilities to the state of the environment, they must put their words into action.

Amazon employees are planning to take action against their employer. More than 1,400 Amazon employees are expected to strike against the company's practices that have contributed to the current climate crisis, marking the first walkout at the company's Seattle headquarters.

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group behind the protest, lists three specific demands: zero emissions by 2030, zero custom Amazon Web Services (AWS) for fossil fuel companies, and zero funding for climate politicians and lobbyists who deny climate change.

"Amazon is one of the world’s most innovative companies. We pride ourselves on being a leader. But in the face of the climate crisis, a true leader is one who reaches zero emissions first, not one who slides in at the last possible moment," the group wrote in a Medium Post. "We know that reaching zero emissions by 2030 won’t be easy. But this is not the time to shy away from the challenge."

Google and Microsoft employees are also planning to protest on Friday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Google Workers for Action on Climate tweeted that over 400 employees have committed to join a local climate strike.

"I support climate actions because we only have one earth and keeping it alive and healthy is one of the biggest responsibilities that we have," one Google employee shared on the twitter account. "I don't want my kids to look at me in 20 years asking how could you screw up like this."

While few major companies have made the pledge to strike in solidarity with protesters, employees are hoping to send a message to their corporations: to take responsibility for their impact on the planet and its people.