Global Climate Strikes Served as a Warning to the World’s Governments

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

People and businesses stand up against climate apathy. Friday's global climate strikes portend a momentum shift for meaningful climate change action from world leaders and governments.

We are in dire times when it comes to climate change. A recent report found that the type of global warming occurring now is unprecedented in the last 2,000 years. While some governments have taken the road of no climate change action, such as the U.S. under President Trump, other countries have taken action but not enough to avoid the worst impacts.

Across the world, concerned people took to the streets on September 20 to demand governments take action. Over 4,482 climate strikes took place in 132 countries, with over 800 taking place in the U.S. The strikers want governments to take sensible action such as transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and stopping all leasing and permitting for fossil fuel extraction.

How the business world participated in climate strikes

More than 6,000 companies and websites joined the digital climate strike on September 20. Some of the largest websites in the world participated, including Tumblr and WordPress by either spreading the word on social media, donating ad space or putting banners on their websites that announced the strikes.

“Climate change is affecting everyone and it’s imperative that we continue to create and push those conversations,” said Bridget Kyeremateng, Tumblr’s Social Impact Lead.

"Tumblr’s passionate and driven community is always eager to find ways that they can get involved in their communities and the Climate Strike is a great opportunity to take issues off the platform and onto the streets."

Other companies, including Patagonia, Burton, and Lush Cosmetics, shut down both their physical and online stores on September 20 and encouraged their employees and customers to join the strikes. Burton did not take orders or make any sales worldwide for 24 hours. Its website directed customers to the Global Climate Strike website. Their stores became a community space for strikers instead of making sales.

“The Amazon is literally on fire, the seas are rising and glaciers are melting,” said Burton CEO, Donna Carpenter. “I’m proud to have Burton join Greta's movement to draw attention to this global crisis.”

Employees of tech companies joined the climate strikes

Some of the largest tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon did not participate in the strikes but their employees did. Amazon employees sent a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon board of directors asking that the company “adopt the climate plan shareholder resolution and release a company-wide climate plan that incorporates the principles outlined in this letter.”

Over 1,600 Google employees signed a pledge that supported climate action at the company. The employees pointed out in a blog post that Google funded 111 members of Congress who voted against climate legislation “at least 90 percent of the time.”

Employees of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are calling for their companies to take the following actions:

  • Zero emissions by 2030.
  • Zero contracts for fossil fuel companies to accelerate oil and gas extraction.
  • Zero funding for climate-denying lobbyists and politicians.

What you can do...even if you didn’t participate in the strikes

You did not have to participate in the strikes to demand governments and companies take action on climate change. You can sign a petition by The Nature Conservancy which demands U.S. leaders “stand strong on climate change.” If you are a California resident, you can sign the petition urging Governor Gavin Newsom to take action to phase out oil production.

You can support companies that participated in the strikes. Fast Company compiled a list of businesses that are somehow participated. And you can target Amazon, Google, and Microsoft on social media, demanding they take meaningful climate change action.