Environmental activists in Europe blocked Amazon’s centers on Black Friday due to excessive consumption

    29 Nov 2021

    On Friday, November 26, the environmental group Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances to 13 Amazon distribution centers in the UK (including its largest one, in the Scottish town of Dunfermline) and one each in Germany and the Netherlands, the BBC and Reuters reported. Police arrested five people at a protest in Dartford and 17 in Tilbury, towns east of London.

    Climate activists block some distribution centers, and a group calls for Amazon workers to go on strike, CNET reports.

    Amazon endured some disruptions at scattered facilities on Black Friday amid the year’s busiest shopping period. Activists were calling for better pay and workplace improvements, and for the company to be more proactive on issues such as the climate crisis.



    Separately, Make Amazon Pay, a coalition of workers and labor organizations, had called for a labor strike by Amazon employees across the company’s operations, such as data centers, factories and warehouses. It was aiming for a work stoppage for Black Friday in 20 countries, including India, Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the US. Amazon’s UK warehouses aren’t unionized, the BBC noted, so workers there can’t legally strike.

    “The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet,” the coalition said in its demands document. “Amazon takes too much and gives back too little. It is time to Make Amazon Pay.”

    The group’s demands are split into five categories: workplace improvements, job security, respect for workers’ rights, sustainable operations and paying back society. Workplace improvements include boosting pay, adding hazard pay, providing adequate break time, extending paid sick leave and disclosing COVID-19 protocols. 



    For job security, the group wants the end of forms of casual employment and contractors while reinstating employees fired for organizing protests. Respecting workers’ rights focuses primarily on allowing employees to form a union and for Amazon to not conduct union-busting tactics. The group also calls for the retail giant to acknowledge climate change, to reduce emissions to zero and to pay its taxes. 

    Amazon says it’s already made headway on these demands. 



    “These groups represent a variety of interests, and while we are not perfect in any area, if you objectively look at what Amazon is doing in each one of these areas, you’ll see that we do take our role and our impact very seriously,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement November 24. 

    There was a similar call for a workers’ strike on Black Friday last year, after Amazon’s sales rose sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted against forming a union at that facility.

    Extinction Rebellion didn’t respond to a request for comment.




    Five reasons to give up shopping on Black Friday

    By the way, on Black Friday, the illiquidity that has been in the warehouse for a year is often brought to the shop windows.

    And on November 26, eco-conscious people celebrated Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest against consumer culture, an event as opposed to Black Friday.

    Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, Buy Nothing Day is held the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, concurrent to Black Friday; elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November.

    Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters based in Canada.

    Let’s talk about why excessive consumption harms people and the environment.



    How not to buy too much and not to harm the planet in the holiday of consumption?

    Every purchased item affects not only the wallet but also the state of the environment. Any product has its “environmental” price, which depends on several factors. Why should you refrain from shopping on Black Friday, and how to stay environmentally conscious? Let’s get to know thanks to Ecopolitic site.



    What is Black Friday? Black Friday is a day of incredible promotions and discounts on all goods. It usually lasts 24 hours, but in recent years often stretched for several days. The idea itself originated in the United States. The date comes immediately after the American public holiday – Thanksgiving, when preparations begin for Christmas, and the traditional Christmas sales season. “Black” Friday began to be called because in American accounting, profits are marked in black – it is on the day of sales stores earn more money than they have to spend.


    Why we should stop shopping on Black Friday


    1. Because of discounts, people buy what they don’t need from the light hand of retailers and marketers, Black Friday has become perceived by consumers as a pursuit of the “best” offers. As a result, people buy what they don’t really need because it has an attractive price. People are “infected” with harmful thoughts, such as “almost for free – who does not need,” “it is a sin to miss such discounts,” and so on. But then most people regret impulsive shopping. For example, 64% of Americans surveyed said they regretted shopping on Black Friday.



    1. Many things are bought to own them, not to use

    Today, many people buy things not because they really need them, but because they just want to have them. These are usually constantly newer and advertised products. Earlier, Pope Francis urged people not to succumb to the “virus of consumption” during such mass sales as Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. On the eve of Christmas, the pontiff called consumerism a virus that attacks the faith and offends the needy. “When you live for the sake of things, there are never enough things, greed grows, and other people become obstacles in this pursuit,” the pontiff said in a Sunday sermon.


    1. Black Friday harms the planet

    Shopping leads to increased consumption, and energy and materials are used to make goods. This is due to the loss of resources, industrial pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, the expansion of the extractive industry and, finally, climate change. In particular, each product has its own environmental price, which depends on several factors: manufacture, transportation and end of life cycle. That is, it is about what the thing was made of, how far it was transported and what happens to it at the end of its “life”. According to Patsy Perry of the University of Manchester, Black Friday is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of discounts, but it runs counter to the pursuit of environmental safety and balance. The fashion industry is responsible for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is contributing to the global climate crisis. About 63% of our clothing is made of synthetic fibers such as polyester, acrylic and nylon. If you do not change your clothes for new ones, as soon as a “good offer” appears, and you wear it twice as long, greenhouse gas emissions per unit will be reduced by 44%.



    1. Many things are one-time waste

    More and more goods are one-time consumption, which quickly becomes garbage. There are a lot of small things and trifles on the market that are of no use. They are cheap, but quickly become uninteresting. In the context of several billion people on the planet, such goods pose a great threat.


    1. Shopping on Black Friday is not really so profitable

    Not all marketing campaigns on Black Friday are reduced to a banal injection: “only today,” “a unique chance,” “while the product is available.” This is a manipulative trap that forces people to act irrationally. Remember: in today’s world, sales are held every two to three months, and some discounts occur almost every day, so there is no particular reason to hurry with the purchase. The thing that you may have needed tonight may be successfully forgotten by you tomorrow morning. Change habits: not Black Friday, but a day without shopping Eco-conscious consumers and producers on this day often boycott the holiday of consumption. Shopping on this day is either minimized or refrained from. If you still buy, choose steel products made from certified or recycled materials.



    Green Friday is the planet-positive alternative to Black Friday


    What is Green Friday?

    In Spain, the “Green Friday” initiative was launched. Simultaneously with the mass sales, a campaign will be held to reduce environmental damage from mass consumption and make smart purchases popular.

    The tradition of arranging discounts at the end of November leads to excessive spending of funds and accumulation of many unnecessary items, which were tempted to buy only by the low cost. The sale of clothes contradicts the desire of Western countries to resist the climate crisis. More than 150 billion textiles are produced worldwide each year, 75% of which are incinerated or landfilled, increasing the damage to the planet.



    8 Ways to Boycott Black Friday (like greenfriday.org.uk/green-friday advises)

    1. Get outside, anywhere – but in especially in nature. Science shows this is very de-stressing (rather than distressing) and extremely good for our health. Besides, just step outside a little more and who knows who you’ll bump into or what great things it might lead to.
    2. Spend time with friends and family Technology and consumerism can easily leave us, and our loved ones, feeling isolated or unfulfilled. This is the perfect time to meet up with your favorite people. And it’ll make you both feel great!
    3. Do something nice for someone. It doesn’t have to be anything big or arduous: even smiling at a stranger can make a world of difference to both parties. That said, if you do have some great plans to help someone else in your life – there’s no time like the present.
    4. Do something to support a charity, your local community or any good cause. Lots of us have plans, intentions and even whole projects we keep meaning to commit to. Whether it’s volunteering somewhere, gathering those supplies for a local food bank or sharing your skills with someone… giving time to something outside yourself is the best cure for Stagnation Blues! For the very best effects all-round, we recommend something active – donating money is great, but the satisfaction is extremely short-lived.
    5. Take time to create something. Have you been meaning to learn to paint, make a new recipe, play an instrument or develop some skill you’ve always admired? Go to it! Maybe there’s an exciting project, invention, innovation or bright idea in you. We humans are truly unique in our ability to create something completely new out of nothing. So take a step back from the day-to-day stuff, find a nice relaxing space, and maybe a fresh sheet of paper – and see what exciting new things you can come up with.
    6. Get active. If you’re heading to work or anywhere else – perhaps take the bike or jog. You probably don’t need us to tell you, but it’s nice to be reminded: exercise is incredibly good for us on many levels.
    7. Meditate, take up yoga or otherwise invest your health – our number one asset! Science continues to uncover the many layers of goodness which activities like meditation, yoga, pilates and tai chi can offer. These benefits include: clearer thought, improved sleep, better emotional regulation, improved cognition and problem solving and greater creativity. Those some of these activities can take a little willpower and practice to learn, it’s worth remembering that they could also give you heaps of pleasure. Many of these, time-and-science-tested activities are great for increasing mental and physical flexibility, reducing pain and discomfort, calming the central nervous system, improving our mood, posture and outlook and facilitating natural happiness!
    8. Raise awareness for Green Friday and its values 

    If you like what you’ve read here, or agree with the overriding themes of Green Friday – spread the word! The more we connect, the greater our potential and impact. And while we have a tendency to underplay it: your simple actions can really make a difference in creating a better world!



    You may read more here about non-eco-friendly Black Friday: what sellers and buyers should remember during the mass sale.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *