Google employees plan to join Global Climate Strike walkout

Employees from Amazon and Microsoft plan to join the global protest, too.


Erik McGregor
/ Contributor
  • A Twitter account claiming to represent Google employees interested in the strike says more than 400 workers have so far pledged to join the protests.
  • Global Climate Strike is a global protest against calling for urgent action on climate change.
  • Google has recently faced criticism for its partnerships with oil and gas companies.


Google employees plan to join fellow tech workers from Amazon and Microsoft on Friday to protest the fossil fuel industry as part of the Global Climate Strike.

Global Climate Strike is a climate change protest scheduled to occur in at least 150 countries from Sept. 20 to 27, coinciding with the United Nations' 2019 Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23. The protests are calling for "climate justice for everyone" and an end to the use of fossil fuels.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," reads a statement on the Global Climate Strike website.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 400 Google employees had planned to walk out on Friday, according to the Google Workers for Action on Climate Change Twitter account. It's unclear exactly what Google employees are demanding from their company, but the Google Workers for Action on Climate Change Twitter account showed protest signs calling for zero contracts with oil and gas companies.

Despite its progressive public stance on climate change, Google has faced criticism in recent years for partnering with oil and gas companies in an attempt to use technology to help automate the industry. The company has also established an oil, gas and energy division, headed by Darryl Willis, a 25-year veteran of BP. The Wall Street Journal described this division as "part of a new group Google has created to court the oil and gas industry." Microsoft and Amazon have made similar partnerships.

Jack Kelly, who runs the nonprofit Open Climate Fix and formerly worked as a research engineer at Google's DeepMind, tweeted:

"I'm so pleased this is happening. Google Cloud's enthusiastic sales pitch to upstream oil & gas producers heavily influenced my decision to leave Google."

Amazon employees, meanwhile, have tied three key demands to Friday's walkout, according to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice:

  • Zero emissions by 2030: Pilot electric vehicles first in communities most impacted by our pollution
  • Zero custom Amazon Web Services (AWS) contracts for fossil fuel companies to accelerate oil and gas extraction
  • Zero funding for climate denying lobbyists and politicians
The upcoming walkout comes less than a year after more than 20,000 Google employees walked off the job to protest the company's decision to give seven-figure exit packages to male executives accused of sexual misconduct. It's possible that, as big tech companies continue to see their employees increasingly engage in activism, Silicon Valley workers might feel more empowered to voice their philosophical and political complaints against these behemoth organizations, and without consequence.
After all, research continues to show that people are willing to make significant sacrifices in order to pursue meaningful work. The question that tech employees are increasingly raising is: Are their employers willing to do the same?

American education: It’s colleges, not college students, that are failing

Who is to blame for the U.S.'s dismal college graduation rate? "Radical" educator Dennis Littky has a hunch.

Percentage of college student dropouts by age at enrollment: 2-year and 4-year institutions

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • COVID-19 has magnified the challenges that underserved communities face with regard to higher education, such as widening social inequality and sky-high tuition.
  • At College Unbound, where I am president, we get to know students individually to understand what motivates them, so they can build a curriculum based on goals they want to achieve.
  • My teaching mantra: Everything is permitted during COVID-19. Everything is permitted during COVID-19. Everything is permitted during COVID-19.
Keep reading Show less

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle may finally be solved

Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.

Surprising Science

One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.

Keep reading Show less

LIVE AT 2 PM ET | Lead your team toward collaborative problem solving

What does it mean to "lead without authority"?

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

Keep reading Show less

Planet Nine will be discovered in the next decade. Here’s why.

The planet that we are searching for is a little bit smaller and closer than we originally thought.

Planet Nine will be discovered in the next decade. Here’s why. | ...
Videos
  • Years ago, California Institute of Technology professor Konstantin Batygin was inspired to embark on a journey of discovering what lurked beyond Neptune. What he and his collaborator discovered was a strange field of debris.
  • This field of debris exhibited a clustering of orbits, and something was keeping these orbits confined. The only plausible source would be the gravitational pull of an extra planet—Planet Nine.
  • While Planet Nine hasn't been found directly, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. And Batygin is confident we'll return to a nine-planet solar system within the next decade.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…