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Lunchtime strike: Thousands of Aussies to walk off the job to strike for climate

School children shout slogans during a strike and protest by students highlighting inadequate progress to address climate change in Sydney on March 15, 2019. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Thousands more businesses have joined the movement of Australian businesses that are closing its doors, allowing staff to take time off work, or taking another form of action in order to protest the Australian government’s lacklustre action on climate change.

Last Monday, Atlassian co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes called on businesses to join Not Business As Usual, an alliance of Australian companies that have come together in support of school students around the world – including Australia – that are walking out of their classrooms to strike against climate inaction.

“Corporations have to deal with [climate change]; they have to deal with their own impact and their own footprint as companies,” Cannon-Brookes said at the time.

According to the website, it’s “not business as usual for the world's children to skip school to get adults to pay attention to the climate crisis”.

Hundreds of thousands of Aussie workers are expected to walk off the job in support of School Strike 4 Climate, led by Australian school-students who are holding protests in all of Australia’s capital cities as well as other regional locations.

“It’s not business as usual for those children to have to ask the adults to skip work.

“So, on Friday 20 September, we’re not doing business as usual.”

(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot/Not Business As Usual)

On 3 September, Not Business As Usual had only 20-odd signatories.

At the time of writing, Yahoo Finance has confirmed the number has increased to 2,667.

Businesses that have made the Not Business As Usual pledge include:

  • Atlassian

  • Ben & Jerry’s

  • KeepCup

  • Canva

  • Amnesty International

  • Future Super

  • Bank Australia

  • Koala

  • Slater + Gordon Lawyers

  • OzHarvest

  • Oxfam Australia

  • Australian GEographic

  • Domain

  • Aesop

  • The Australia Institute

  • Melbourne 2019 Writers Festival

  • The Iconic

  • Australan Ethical

  • LegalVision

  • Pro Bono Australia

  • Jurlique

  • Save the Children

  • Sydney Theatre Co

  • Verizon Media

Just a handful of businesses that have made the Not Business As Usual pledge to support staff participation in the climate strikes. Yahoo Finance has confirmed the number has exceeded 2,600. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot/Not Business As Usual)

The frequency of such climate-related strikes are increasing dramatically: according to statistics from Eventbrite, which is a popular platform used by Australian activists to list their event, the number of climate change-related events has jumped 416 per cent since five years ago.

In this year alone, climate-related strikes rose 56 per cent, with NSW the most active state in striking.

“The increasing number of local events and rallies hosted on Eventbrite that are focused on climate change demonstrates that there are more Australians than ever demanding action on this important environmental issue,” said Eventbrite acting General manager Josh McNicol.

Global climate strikes come ahead of UN Climate Summit 2019

Today’s strike comes three days before a UN Climate Action Summit 2019 that will be held in New York.

UN secretary-general António Guterres will host leaders in government, business and civil society to meet at the summit and discuss plans to tackle the “global climate emergency,” according to the UN website.

Leaders are expected to arrive with “concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050”.

“There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society,” the website said.

“The Summit will spark the transformation that is urgently needed and propel action that will benefit everyone.”

School Strike 4 Climate Australia and Not Business As Usual are only two of thousands of other groups that will be striking around the globe as part of the Global Climate Strike.

A full list of groups and organisations participating in the Global Climate Strike are available on https://globalclimatestrike.net/.

According to the website, global strikes are scheduled to take place on September 20 as well as September 27.

Note: Yahoo Finance’s parent company, Verizon Media Australia, has made the Not Business As Usual pledge.

The future of work will be discussed at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit is on the 26th of September 2019 at the Shangri-La, Sydney. Check out the full line-up of speakers and agenda for this groundbreaking event here and buy tickets here.

The Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit is on the 26th of September 2019 at the Shangri-La, Sydney.