Thousands of tech workers crowded around Amazon’s iconic Spheres on Friday to answer a call from youth activists to stand up for climate action. The Seattle event was part of an international day of activism initiated by young people worried about their future on a rapidly warming planet.
The demonstration was the latest — and perhaps the loudest — example of a growing employee activist movement in the technology industry. Tech workers are organizing and pressuring their employers to take bold stances on a range of issues from immigration and facial recognition to sexual harassment and climate change.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and Google Workers for Action on Climate organized the event in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. They handed out pizza to a massive crowd of supporters and led protest songs like this one:
People gonna rise like the water
We’re going to calm this crisis down
I hear the voice of my great-granddaughter
Saying climate justice now
Amazon unveiled its carbon footprint for the first time Thursday as part of a broader announcement of new sustainability goals. Amazon was responsible for 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018, higher than many of its tech industry peers but lower than rival Walmart, according to Bloomberg News. Amazon pledged to reach 80 percent renewable energy for its global infrastructure within five years, and use entirely renewable power by 2030.
Amazon Go engineer Weston Fribley celebrated the announcement in a speech at the demonstration.