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A protester is seen during a climate change demonstration in Los Angeles, holding a placard that says, "Apathy Is Destruction." On September 20 hundreds of thousands of people of all ages are expected to take part in the Global Climate Strike, and on Wednesday organizers applauded four companies for pledging to close their stores during the strike and take part in the action. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Committed to Disruptive, Transformative Change': Ben & Jerry's, Lush, and Patagonia Among Companies to Pledge Support for Global Climate Strike

"Everyone is needed to disrupt business as usual: from sports stars, actors, and teachers to food industry workers, psychologists, delivery drivers, and everything in between."

Julia Conley

At least four major U.S. companies will close their doors on September 20 to encourage employees to take part in the Global Climate Strike in order to send a clear message that they will not conduct "business as usual" while the world's children are demanding action to stop the climate crisis.

Ben & Jerry's, Lush Cosmetics, Patagonia, and Seventh Generation all pledged support Wednesday for the strike, which millions of people of all ages are expected to take part in next month as part of a Week of Action before the UN Climate Summit.

"The willingness to disrupt the norm is an indicator that the time has come for everyone, especially global leaders, to get out of their comfort zones to ensure that communities around the world can thrive with clean air, water, and are safe from the worst of the climate crisis."
—Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, 350.org.

Rose Marcario, president & CEO of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia, called on other companies to join in supporting the strike.

"The climate crisis is a human issue—affecting all of us. We are inspired by the youth activists who have led a global movement, and Patagonia is calling for urgent and decisive action for people and our home planet," said Rose Marcario, President & CEO, Patagonia. "We invite the business community and all those concerned about the fate of our planet and humankind to answer with action and join us."

350.org, which has joined forces with Greenpeace, SEIU, and March On to support youth-led groups including the Sunrise Movement and Zero Hour, expressed gratitude to the four companies for honoring one of the climate strike's primary messages: that disruption of daily life is necessary to force policymakers to end their support for the fossil fuel industry and complicity in the warming of the globe.

"The willingness to disrupt the norm is an indicator that the time has come for everyone, especially global leaders, to get out of their comfort zones to ensure that communities around the world can thrive with clean air, water, and are safe from the worst of the climate crisis," said Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, North America director for 350.org.

Global reports of other organizations and businesses supporting the strike have surfaced as well, including an architecture firm in Norwich, England; the University of Michigan; the Uniting Church, which runs private schools attended by 10,000 Australian children; and New Society Publishers in Canada.    

The companies highlighted longtime commitments to sustainability as part of their reasoning for offering their full-fledged support to the Global Climate Strike.

"As a business that's long fought for the environment, we are acutely aware of the climate crisis and recognize both the indisputable science behind it, and the need for strong, tangible action to address it," said Mark Wolverton, CEO of Lush Cosmetics North America. "We are committed to disruptive, transformative change. That means a break in 'business as usual,' holding our global leaders accountable and answering the call of the youth activists to join them on the streets this September."

Joey Bergstein, CEO of green cleaning products company Seventh Generation, echoed the call of 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, who wrote to supporters this week to urge their participation in the strike and told them, "Elders need to act like elders."

"Future generations are inheriting the consequences caused by this generation's failure to act on the climate crisis," said Bergstein. "They have every right to be fed up and worried for their future. We share the concerns of the youth climate activists, admire their determination and are here to lift their voices."

Days before the companies announced their commitment to joining the strike, author Jane Caro called on business owners to allow and encourage their employees to walk out of work on September 20.

"Your business will not survive if we don't," tweeted Caro.

"Everyone is needed to disrupt business as usual: from sports stars, actors, and teachers to food industry workers, psychologists, delivery drivers, and everything in between," the Global Climate Strike organizers wrote on their website, where people in every continent on the planet aside from Antarctica have registered demonstrations. "We can all take part, whatever our circumstances, by refusing to accept the status quo."


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