Corner Brook soap company stages digital climate strike

Natura Soap Company's website and social media have gone dark in a weeklong display of solidarity with global climate change strikes.

Owner says she'll risk losing business to draw attention to global movement

Mikaela Wilson is having her company, Natura Soap, take a break from the internet this week in solidarity with global climate change protests. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

If you try to place an online order for some of Mikaela Wilson's soaps, lotions or bath bombs this week, you're out of luck. 

Her Corner Brook-based business Natura Soap Company has declared a digital climate strike, with posts on its social media channels and website stating that its internet presence and online sales are on hiatus until Sept. 28.

Wilson was inspired to take action amid the global movement of climate strikes happening from Sept. 20 to 27 worldwide, coinciding with the United Nations' Climate Action Summit this week in New York City. Millions took part in the first wave of protests to demand political action on climate change, with Canada's strike day set for Friday.

"If you're not willing to put your own business on the line for something that you genuinely believe is for the well-being of the entire world, than what are you doing?" she said.

Wilson is following in other businesses' footsteps. Several national and multinational brands have announced temporary closures as part of the movement, such as Mountain Equipment Co-op shutting its doors on Friday and closing its online shop.

"I figured I'm smaller, so I need to do a little bit more to make a bigger impact, to actually make people notice. So I decided to just go on strike for the whole week," said Wilson.

Protestors hold placards as they march on Friday in Melbourne, Australia, part of a global mass day of action demanding action on the climate crisis. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Business risk

As a small home-based company that sells primarily online or via a booth at local craft fairs and farmer's markets, Wilson acknowledged she might lose out on some business because of the strike.

"It's a risk I was willing to take. Basically, the thing that we're all fighting for is kind of an important thing, the whole well-being of the climate," she said.

It's the policy-makers we need to get to.- Mikaela Wilson

"So if the climate goes down and degrades as much as everyone's worried its gonna, it doesn't matter what kind of business I have anyways."

People can place orders if they're willing to wait until next week, and in the meantime Wilson is focusing on offline company duties during the strike, making and stocking up her inventory. 

She hasn't entirely stepped away from the internet either, and is still checking her personal social media as well as the company's email account, where a few letters of support for her strike have come in.

Wilson is spending most of her strike week restocking company inventory, like these bath bombs. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

Pushing the policy-makers

Wilson hopes her social media strike posts get shared, although by not tracking the company account this week, she won't really know until after the fact if they alert people to the global strike movement.

At any rate, she said, after years of pushing her business in an eco-friendly direction — by swapping plastic containers for glass or metal, or no packaging at all — taking part in systemic change is the next step.

"Making your own personal change is good, but it's the policy-makers that we need to get to," she said.

Corner Brook and St. John's have climate strikes planned for Friday to coincide with similar events nationwide. Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Stephenville held their strikes Sept. 20.

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