Thousands of young climate activists held simultaneous demonstrations on Black Friday, days before the UN Conference on Climate Change on Monday, to raise awareness on overconsumption and its effects on the environment.
Demonstrators around the world are calling for climate action amidst the expected shopping uptick during the world’s biggest retail event. In Chicago, demonstrators with the Sunrise Movement Chicago, the Illinois Youth Climate Strike, and other organizations occupied Watertower Place, a major downtown shopping mall.
“We will be disrupting business as usual to make sure shoppers cannot ignore the climate emergency,” said coordinator Lillie Schneyer, 23. “Watertower Place is an ideal setting for us to draw attention to the culpability of large corporations and fast fashion who have put profits for a greedy few ahead of the needs of many, contributing to catastrophic impacts on our climate and the rising inequality and poor working conditions that we see as twin crises in our country today.”
Meanwhile, Ethyl Ruehman, 20, a freshman at Indiana University and member of the Northwest Indiana Youth Council, staged a” Day of Defiance” protest outside a shopping mall in Indiana.
“Today is especially important because it’s a massive consumer holiday. Textile consumption is estimated to be the second biggest contributor to climate change. And the tech industry, through planned obsolescence, creates a lot of waste,” she said.
Rhueman added that her protest aims to put into light the problematic business practices of retail giants and how it impacts the environment. She said she did it to fight for her family back to the Philippines, a country that is most affected by the climate crisis.
Other demonstrations were also held in other parts of the world including Istanbul, South Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia.