Between Sept 20th and 27th, over 7.6 million people in 185 countries on all seven continents took to the streets in the biggest climate protest in history. Their mission? To deliver world leaders a clear, united message: no more empty promises, no more hopeful talk—the time for bold, lasting climate action is right here, right now.
September’s #ClimateStrike wasn’t new: the youth-led movement has been striking from Friday classes in support of a future they deserve for over a year now. What was unique about the Global Climate Strike was that after months of advocating on their own behalf, adults joined in. Parents, teachers and business leaders all took to the streets in support of the youth’s message: the time for change is now – for this generation and for future generations to come.
The September #ClimateStrike was an incredible rally of support in this movement, but it was only the beginning. Speaking to the United Nations in New York City just days after the strike, Greta Thunberg amplified this message directly to world leaders, saying "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.” Her words speak to a common misunderstanding of the youth climate movement, which is that students are taking over on climate action and adults should yield the floor. Quite the opposite is true. Students are striking in order to shake world leaders out of the fog that has made lasting climate action so slow to arrive—and jeopardized the health of people and planet for future generations.
At Seventh Generation, we were proud to support the Global Climate Strike by donating all of our communication channels during strike week to amplify their message, and to close our headquarters on Sept. 20th so we could stand shoulder to shoulder with the students. Our staff joined strike efforts in the U.S. as well as in cities around the world, electrified by the energy of the day, and inspired by the passionate youth leading this movement.
And yet, the strike served as a potent reminder that this movement is not about words or slogans—it’s about the urgent need for action. For thirty years, Seventh Generation has proudly used our voice to stand up for the issues that matter most, but with a global challenge like climate change, we know we have to do more. That’s why we’re re-doubling our support of the amazing climate efforts already happening, such as Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Movement to get cities to commit to 100% clean, renewable energy, as well as telling the story of advocates who are pushing for larger, state-wide commitments such as New York’s recent Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
We’re also innovating more quickly, and more radically than ever, setting science-based targets to reduce our products’ carbon footprint and create less waste. Though our products lead the industry in the use of 100% PCR plastic, as well as renewable, plant-based ingredients, we can still do better. Recycling rates, especially for plastic containers, remain frustratingly low and too many of our products and packaging still end up in landfills or oceans. That’s why we’re creating revolutionary product solutions that not only minimize waste—but create no waste at all—and we’re urging other businesses to do the same.
In addition, and perhaps most impactfully, we’re going to continue using our voice to lobby the decision-makers who have the power to affect more far-reaching, long-lasting change. It’s going to take a collective effort—businesses standing shoulder-to-shoulder with non-profits, representatives, and grassroots activists—but if we don’t come together and stand up to the systems that profit from fossil fuel use and production, if we don’t shift to a renewable energy economy that’s better for our health, we are going to end up in a world that we won’t recognize.