Patagonia and Burton are among the businesses closing stores and offices on Friday to demand that the government call for a climate emergency, marking the start of the week-long, youth-led Global Climate Strike.
Millions of people across the world are walking out of their workplaces and homes, compelled by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and the growing worldwide concern for the fate of the planet.
"The climate crisis is a clear and present danger to our health, our pocketbooks and our employees and their families," Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario wrote in a LinkedIn post. "...Our customers are demanding we act—this generation of youth is not backing down and neither should we."
More than 5,000 strikes in 150-plus countries were scheduled, according to Thunberg and another global strike is planned for Sept. 27. The strikes bookend the Youth Climate Summit on Sept. 21 and the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23, both in New York City.
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The movement boils down to this: urging elected leaders that they can no longer deny climate change and that their inaction is "killing us," as Marcario puts it. Strikers are pressuring officials to create policies encouraging reducing emissions, funding renewable energy and restoration efforts, and discouraging fossil fuel reliance.
"I organize because to really attack the climate emergency we're in, we need a massive people movement," says Andrew Jones, 25, from Philadelphia. He is a member of the Sunrise Movement and a Patagonia activist. "The more people we have, the stronger it'll be."
Patagonia created a database where users can identify events closest to them. The business is also asking concerned U.S. citizens to text CLIMATE to 71333 to tell Congress "there is no room in government for climate deniers." And Burton closed stores for business and instead used them as Action Centers, where people could make signs and join people to walk to nearby marches.
"The Amazon is literally on fire, the seas are rising and glaciers are melting," Burton CEO Donna Carpenter said. "I'm proud to have Burton join Greta's movement to draw attention to this global crisis."