In response to increased consumerism and waste levels resulting from Black Friday, climate change protesters gathered across the US and other various countries including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, the Philippines, Japan, and others. Protesters in Sacramento gathered on Friday at the State Capital to demand action taken on climate change.
Protesters in Paris, France also attempted to blockade a shopping mall on Thanksgiving Thursday. Ahead of these protests, a piece of draft legislation was put forward in France the Monday preceding Black Friday that aims to “stop over-consumption and communications that trick consumers.” The form of misleading communication in question has been highlighted by a recent study by Which? that found that only one in twenty Black Friday sales offers a genuine discount.
Some protestors, however, have emphasized their disdain for the holiday, regardless of whether the sales are genuine or not, and believe the greater concern is the environmental threat posed by increased Black Friday production.
“The planet burns, oceans die, and we still want to consume, consume, and therefore produce, produce — until we eradicate all living things?” reads a manifesto written by self-proclaimed ‘Block Friday’ groups protesting in Paris. “We will not betray our children for a 30% discount!”
Some protests have centered around Amazon. On Thursday, French protesters dumped refrigerators on the road in the attempt to block an Amazon depot. Protests continued into Black Friday with protesters sitting outside of the front gates of an Amazon building in Paris and Amazon workers striking for better pay in Germany.
Additionally, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo published an editorial in Le Monde on the Monday leading up to Black Friday calling for a tax on Amazon deliveries to compensate for the pollution and congestion caused by their deliveries. “Pis, Amazon, UberEats, and other platforms have profited from the absence of urban logistical regulations to encourage practices of consumption that threaten the hearts of cities,” she writes.
The National Assembly in France is scheduled to read the Black Friday bill December 9th. “We cannot both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and call for a consumer frenzy,” French ecological transition minister Elizabeth Borne told BFM business. “Above all, we must consume better.”