Millions join global climate strikes in the U.S.

Millions of people have joined the global climate strike scheduled Friday. The strike comes days before the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.

The summit will be centered on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. This will be attended by the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders from around the world.

According to teen climate activist, Greta Thunberg, about 4,638 events in 139 countries were confirmed last Tuesday.

In Australia, an estimated crowd of 300,000 people participated in the strike. There were protests in 110 cities and towns across the country.

There were also protests in some European capitals like Berlin, London, and Poland. There were also organized events in places like Bangkok, New Delhi, Nairobi, and many other locations around the world.

In the United States, some businesses have allowed their workers to take time off to join the strikes. Some have opted to close their businesses for the day. Most of these businesses fall in the small to midsize categories.

According to The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), over 450 businesses are supporting the strike either by closing their stores or giving their employees the time off. There are also about 800 events related to the global climate strike around the country.

“Already American businesses are being hurt by climate-related extreme weather and changing weather patterns. The damage includes supply chain disruptions, harm to facilities, and increased energy and employee health costs,” ASBC president David Levine said.

According to the TechWorkers Coalition, employees of some of the biggest names in the tech industry joined the strike. Hundreds of employees from Twitter, Facebook, and Microsoft have walked out of their jobs and participated in the global climate walkout. About 900 people working for Google have also walked out of their jobs to take part in the event.

More than 1,500 employees from Amazon have also gotten involved in the strike. Amazon employees have been putting pressure on the company to be more proactive with its climate change goals and to stop working with fossil fuel producers.

Their participation in the strike comes a day after Amazon’s Jess Bezos announced that Amazon is partnering with Global Optimism and presented The Climate Pledge. It’s a pledge for businesses to have net-zero carbon by the year 2040.

“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,” said the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice in a statement.

“We know that reaching zero emissions by 2030 won’t be easy. But this is not the time to shy away from the challenge,” the statement adds.

The ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s closed its corporate office in South Burlington, Vermont as part of their participation in the strike. It also ceased its production in the Netherlands and Vermont.

In a statement, a company spokesperson said: “We recognize that climate change is an existential threat to our planet and all its inhabitants, and therefore we are proud standing with the youth-led movement demanding bold action in response to the climate emergency.”

There were companies like Patagonia and Burton that have closed both their physical and online stores. If someone logged on to Burton’s website, they will be redirected to the Global Climate Strike website.

“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,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario on LinkedIn.

“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,” adds Macario.

Apart from letting employees join the strike, other companies have also pledged to donate ad spaces or add banners promoting the strikes on their websites. More than 7,000 companies have participated in the “digital climate strike” including BitTorrent, Imgur, Kickstarter, Tumblr, WordPress, and many others.

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