Global Climate Strike

On November 29th, Ethical Consumer will join millions worldwide striking for urgent action on climate change.

Co-op members from the Ethical Consumer team will be joining strikes and demonstrations in London, Manchester, Sheffield and Derby.

As individuals, and as an organisation, we are passionate about defending our environment and helping to reduce the impacts of climate change that are already being felt across the world from Brazil to Nepal.

Each magazine we report on climate change activism as well as raising awareness of the environmental impacts of so many things we over-consume, including clothes, technology, food and cosmetics.

Individual consumer choices play an important part in creating change, but they will only ever be enough to tackle the climate crisis alongside systemic change.

We need people to join together into movements to achieve this and leverage the power to shift corporations and governments.

Striking for the future

In the space of a year and on every continent, school-children have organised to demand urgent change. Fridays for the Future has grown into a global movement of school strikers for climate action. On the 29th November, they have asked adults around the world to join them:

“It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work. We need to escalate the pressure to make sure that change happens, and we must escalate together.”

The strike is set to place days before the United Nations climate change conference kicks off in Madrid on December 2nd, and will be a call for international leaders to take urgent action.

The climate demonstrations coincide with strikes at 60 UK university, where members of UCU (University and College Union) are protesting pensions, pay and conditions for eight work days. Solidarity climate actions are planned across universities.

Find a strike near you on the UK Student Climate Network website >

Fighting a crisis on all fronts

The climate crisis is relevant to everything that we write about and campaign on at Ethical Consumer. It is not just environmental: it is also a crisis of workers’ and human, animal and political rights.

We believe that the UK government and all corporations must act now to limit climate catastrophe. We call on them to enact an urgent and just transition to a zero-carbon future as the impacts are already being felt around the world.

  • In Nepal, changing rainfall patterns are forcing children into work. Unstable weather pushes farmers to migrate seasonally. Entire families move to work in brick kilns for several months, under enormous pressure to earn as much as possible before monsoon starts. The kilns rely on a form of seasonal debt bondage, whereby the families are offered an advance at high interest rates in exchange for work in the kilns. Sometimes, the labour of children is pledged by parents in an attempt to repay the loan.
  • In Borneo, deforestation for palm oil plantations not only directly threatens orangutans by destroying their habitat. It contributes to rising temperatures, leaving their whole ecosystem to face collapse. In the world’s most nature-rich areas, these orangutans are amongst 50% of plants and animals that face annihilation due to the climate catastrophe. As industrial agriculture further adds to emissions, it is an extinction crisis in part caused by our unsustainable consumption of animal products.
  • In Brazil, rising temperatures and drought have led to the devastating spread of the Amazon fires. Lit by those after agricultural and mining land, they have been enabled by Bolsanaro’s government, with its agribusiness backing and its fascist, anti-Indigenous agenda. Now the fires are destroying one of the world’s most important carbon sinks and accelerating the climate catastrophe further. They show a spiralling relationship between ecological destruction and violations of indigenous and political rights.

The climate crisis is bound up with these humanitarian and ecological abuses – which it has arisen out of and in which it continues to play a part.

More than personal carbon emissions

Ethical Consumer is striking for workers, human and animal communities around the world, as well as the ecosystems that support us.

Clearly our response has to be about far more than personal carbon emissions. If the examples of Nepal, Borneo and Brazil show the role of consumer goods - from palm oil to Amazonian beef and gold - they also demonstrate the role of industry and government interests in determining the impact that these have.

“All the united science tells us that we are about 11 years away from setting off an irreversible chain reaction way beyond human control that will probably be the end of our civilization as we know it.” - Greta Thunberg

Clearly ‘business as usual’ is not an option.

What can you do?

Greenpeace suggests that you get involved and:

1. Find a strike near you. There are over 150 strikes happening across the UK, meaning finding one to join should be easy enough. And if there isn’t one near you – you can set one up! Full, step-by-step instructions are available on the UK Student Climate Network website. And here’s how to get the word out in your workplace or community.

2. Tell your workmates, managers and employers about the strike, to build support in your company or organisation. You might be surprised how many people are keen to help publicise it and strike with you.

3. Tell your employer that you plan to be at the strike. Depending on your workplace, you have a few options. Firstly, tell them you will be taking the Friday 29th November off, and ask them to support your decision and the strike more generally. (Strikes are unpaid workdays, so they’ll even save some money!)

4. If your employer really isn’t on board, remind them that there is no [insert your product/service or business/organisation type here] as usual in a climate emergency, and request some paid leave. If you can’t spare the time off, even going to the strike for half an hour on your lunch break is still brilliant.

5. Whatever you can or can’t do in person on Friday 29th November, you can still show up for the climate strikers by publicising the strike online. Download resources to share online on the UK Student Climate Network website.

Every act will bring this movement closer to getting the UK government to really do something about the climate emergency.

Follow the strikes on twitter >

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