Speech to Jeff Bezos during Annual Shareholder Meeting
[Emily Cunningham, AECJ] Before I start my time, I’d like to ask for Jeff Bezos to come out on stage so I can speak to him directly. I represent 7,700 of his employees.
[David Zapolsky, General Counsel] Mr. Bezos will be out later, thank you.
[EC] Will he be hearing this speech?
[DZ] Awkward pause. I assume so.
I’m Emily Cunningham. I’ve worked at Amazon for the last five and a half years. Nearly 7,700 employees have publicly asked Amazon to adopt our resolution which calls for a company-wide plan that matches the urgency and scale of the climate crisis. I want to invite everyone here who supports this resolution to stand up with me now.
The climate crisis is the greatest threat we’ve ever faced. It’s devastating communities around the world. In March, cyclone Idai ravaged southern Africa leaving thousands dead or missing, and causing more than $2 billion in damage to one of the most impoverished areas of the world. The people killed by cyclone Idai have contributed almost nothing to the climate breakdown which has made storms like this so common and deadly — but Amazon has and continues to.
Speed is everything. Without bold, rapid action we will lose our only chance to avoid catastrophic warming. There’s no issue more important to our customers or our world than the climate crisis, and we are falling far short. Jeff Bezos, can you see children playing who might have drowned? Towns thriving that might have burned? Species swimming that might have been lost, forever?
How will we tell our children that we knew we had such a small window to act decisively, to leave fossil fuels in the ground, but instead we helped Shell, BP, and others find and extract oil more quickly? How will we explain that we kept our emissions rising knowing that the Global South, Indigenous peoples, and communities of color were paying a terrible price? We can avoid the worst of what’s coming but we have to act. Now. What we do today is worth exponentially more than what we do even a few years from now.
Leonard Cohen wrote, “We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky.” Our home, planet Earth — not distant, far-off places in space — desperately needs bold leadership. We have the talent, the passion, the imagination. We have the scale, speed, and resources. Jeff, all we need is your leadership.
Jeff, will you stand with us, and adopt this resolution? Or will you ignore the most important opportunity we’ve ever had: to take bold climate leadership when it mattered more than anything has ever mattered? This is not a rhetorical question: Jeff, will you join us by requesting a new ballot, right now, and vote to adopt the resolution?