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Over the last few months, thousands of people have taken to the streets of some of the world's biggest cities to protest against what they see as a lack of action to tackle climate change. Friday, September 20, looks set to be one of the biggest of these events with tens of thousands of workers across the world saying they will take part in what they're calling a global climate strike.
This is posing a particular problem for some of the world's biggest technology companies, many of whose workers say they are concerned not only about climate change but also their own employers' lack of action on this front. Some 1,400 Amazon employees, for example, say that they are going to walk out of the company's Seattle headquarters. Others from Facebook, Google and from Microsoft are also planning to join the protests.
Some technology companies have tried to get out ahead of these protests by announcing their own measures to tackle climate change. The day before the strike, Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon would be entirely powered by renewable energy by 2030 and would have net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Google, meanwhile, has said it will increase its investment in renewable energy by 40 per cent. Many of these pledges however do not go as far as some of the employees have demanded. Jeff Bezos, for example, explicitly ruled out one of his employee's demands which was that Amazon should stop working with oil and gas companies.
The problem is for many of these technology companies that they are no longer small startups which can afford to have mission statements like "Do no evil." Instead they are multinational conglomerates with shareholder demands to fulfil. Meanwhile they still have young, dynamic, and politically aware workforces which are beginning to use their muscle against their bosses' wishes. The uneasy truce between these two groups of people is beginning to fray.