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By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Google logo (Image source: Public domain)
The employees of three major tech companies are walking off the job Friday with a planned strike. But this isn't a strike to demand better working conditions — this is a strike to raise awareness of climate change. Google employees announced they were joining those of Amazon and Microsoft to take part in the global climate strike.
This strike goes broader than just the three tech companies. They'll take place in 150 countries with the purpose of sending a message to leaders who are meeting next Monday and holding the 2019 Climate Action Summit. More protests will be held on the 27th. Donald Trump plans to skip out on the festivities.
"I'm so pleased this is happening," wrote a former research manager at Google's DeepMind, Jack Kelly. He now runs the Open Climate Fix nonprofit that is working toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"Google Cloud's enthusiastic sales pitch to upstream oil and gas producers heavily influenced my decision to leave Google."
This is not the tech company's first protest. More than 20,000 employees walked off the job last November to protest the seven-figure exit packages that were being offered to male executives accused of sexual misconduct with nothing being said of why they were leaving the company.
So far 1,235 Amazon employees are walking out as well. This will be the first time employees of this company have walked off the job in the company's entire history.
They'll be taking vacation days to attend the protest and want to put pressure on the company to use its money and influence to address climate issues more seriously.
Among the list of demands is driving electric vehicles in areas Amazon's pollution has affected, committing to reaching zero emissions by 2030, Amazon Web Services making custom contracts with fossil fuel companies, and not pledging donations to politicians and lobbyists who don't believe that the climate is changing.
"What we wanted to see Amazon do was just prioritize this issue. We want Amazon to take ownership over its impact, to become a bold leader in the space, and influence the rest of the industry, said the spokesperson for the group, Sarah Reed. She is also a user experience researcher on Prime Video.
"We want to be setting the pace to be getting to zero emissions."
Amazon issued a statement discussing all the sustainability steps they have already taken to help "reduce the sources of human-induced climate change."
Among those steps are plans to reduce the carbon footprint of half of Amazon shipments by 2020, and another one that is focusing on sustainable packaging with a goal to reduce unnecessary packaging materials. The plan is to share all the steps they are making later this year.
The Amazon employees group points to the growth rate at Amazon and says the goal to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2030 isn't enough.
"Amazon is one of the world's most innovative companies. We pride ourselves on being a leader," the employes wrote in a blog post. "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."
Microsoft employees will be joining the walkout as well, according to a Twitter account by the name Microsoft Workers 4 Good.
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