Advisory: Activists to rally at Amazon’s Climate Pledge Arena grand opening

Thursday October 21, 2021

2 p.m. Friday, October 22: Ship it Zero coalition draws attention to urgency for Amazon to reduce its cargo shipping pollution

SEATTLE — On Friday afternoon, October 22, climate activists with Ship It Zero coalition member Stand.earth will rally at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Amazon’s Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, drawing attention to the urgency for Amazon to reduce its cargo shipping pollution and their disappointment over the lengthy timeline of the company’s recent zero-emissions cargo shipping pledge. The activists will have signs and banners and will be accompanied by a mock “smoking” cargo ship to illustrate the climate and health-harming pollution impacts from maritime shipping.

The event comes just three days after Amazon, IKEA, and other major retailers announced a landmark commitment to move their products off fossil-fueled cargo ships by 2040 — a move criticized by the Ship It Zero coalition as too weak to address the urgent climate and public health crisis tied to the ocean shipping sector. The coalition is calling for major retail brands to switch entirely to zero-emissions ships by 2030 — a decade earlier than Amazon’s commitment.

Ship It Zero’s recently released Shady Ships report revealed that just 15 companies, including Amazon, are responsible for emitting millions of tons of pollution from importing their goods into the United States on fossil-fueled cargo ships.

WHO: Climate activists with Ship It Zero coalition member Stand.earth

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS: Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director at Stand.earth, will be at the rally and is available for interviews about the Ship It Zero coalition and their critique of Amazon’s zero-emissions cargo shipping pledge. 

Ulrich can also comment on how Amazon’s leadership in developing the Climate Pledge Arena does not mean the corporation should be let off the hook for addressing its other sources of climate and air pollution, such as ocean shipping, and how people living in port communities like Seattle are often left to deal with the disproportionate impacts of that pollution.

WHAT: Climate activists will have a mock “smoking” cargo ship and signs and banners outside the Climate Pledge Arena to draw attention to the urgency for Amazon to reduce its cargo shipping pollution and their disappointment over the lengthy timeline of the company’s recent zero-emissions cargo shipping pledge.

The activists will also have signs and banners with messages including “19 years is too long to wait for zero-emissions shipping” and “Amazon ships are prime pollution.”

WHEN: Friday, October 22, 2021, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Amazon’s Climate Pledge Arena ribbon cutting ceremony, 334 1st Ave. N., Seattle

PHOTO AND VIDEO: Photos and videos of the event will be uploaded to Google Drive throughout the afternoon and evening: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Dc3y0QhNQ5Vl2EDUhYaPPGZ5ccg-Sqgq?usp=sharing 

About Ship It Zero

The Ship It Zero coalition is led by environmental advocacy groups Stand.earth and Pacific Environment, who are calling on some of the nation’s largest maritime importers — including Target, IKEA, Amazon, and Walmart — to transition to 100% zero-emissions cargo shipping vessels by 2030. This ​​goal will ensure the shipping industry does its fair share in helping to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, the target scientists say is needed to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

About Shady Ships report

Released in July 2021, Ship It Zero’s Shady Ships report revealed that just 15 companies are responsible for emitting millions of tons of pollution from importing their goods into the United States on fossil-fueled cargo ships. It is the first study to quantify the environmental and public health impacts from some of the biggest American retailers’ reliance on overseas manufacturing and fossil-fueled, transoceanic shipping. 

Collectively, the top importers of U.S. goods are responsible for emitting as much sulfur oxide, nitrous oxide, and particulate matter as tens of millions of U.S. vehicles every year. These emissions are some of the most dangerous and deadly types of air pollutants, contributing to asthma, cancer, and premature death, and increasing the mortality risk from respiratory-based illnesses like COVID-19. 

The market for transoceanic cargo shipping has grown over the past several decades, and the pandemic accelerated the trend toward shipping goods bought online. Today, over 50,000 cargo ships carry around 80 percent of global trade, and ocean-going cargo volumes are projected to grow by as much as 130 percent by 2050. Every single cargo ship in operation right now runs on fossil fuels.

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Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Stand.earth, +1 510 858 9902, media@stand.earth (will be available on site)