While hundreds of Amazon employees were protesting around the nation the company’s inaction on climate change on Friday, Sept. 20, hundreds protested in San Bernardino to pressure management to address environmental threats posed by the huge company.
Holding signs that read “Asthmazon. Delivering Bad Air and Bad Jobs to your Neighborhood,” “Don’t Thrash our Planet,” and “Raise your Voice, not the Sea,” among many others, hundreds of protesters “occupied” the Amazon Plaza in San Bernardino as part of the Global Climate Strike.
Organized by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, the Warehouse Resource Center and 350, an international envignmental group, among others, the rally reproached the company for the high levels of pollution in the region and rejected the idea of opening more warehouses in the zone.
“Everyone deserves to live in a community with clean air and water, without fear that pollution will cause their children to develop asthma and their elders to have trouble breathing,” said Court Smith, a 350 Riverside organizer.
Amazon is working with the Inland Empire’s largest developer, Hillwood Enterprises, to develop an air cargo logistics center that could connect Amazon with its 14 fulfillment centers, said the Center for Community Action.
Amazon would be the largest lessee of the Eastgate Logistics Center, which will add 24 cargo flights a day to the existing five cargo flights a week.
“The IE has the worst ozone pollution in the nation due to air pollutants from trucks and planes,” said Becky Hernandez of the Sierra Club.
Young activist Dana de Ramon added that if Amazon wants to open new centers in the region, it would have to change its practices and commit to end climate change.
“Amazon must improve their workplace conditions and make the transition to clean renewable energy if they are going to be coming into our communities,” said De Ramon.
The protest took place in front of Amazon Fulfillment Center SNA7 at 555 East Orange Show Road in San Bernardino, which has been retrofitted to house robotics.
A letter signed by Center for Community Action, in addition to several environmental agencies and organizations, says “as the Amazon rainforest burns and extreme weather events like hurricane Dorian are devastating our planet, Amazon Inc., is expanding its massive carbon footprint.”
“Your business is continuing its path towards being the largest retailer in the world, at the expense of our climate and communities,” says the letter sent to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.
A day prior to the global strike, Amazon and Global Optimism announced the Climate Pledge, a commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.
In a press release, Amazon said it became the first signatory of the pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goal of 2050. As part of the plan, Amazon committed to buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian.
Google and IKEA signed the pledge a day later.