Action items for the environment
What: #0ptOutside with REI
WHEN & WHERE: 9am-3:30pm on Galbraith Mountain; 10am-12pm at the I and J streets waterway
Cost: Free; please RSVP
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
On Black Friday, don’t plan on cramming for Christmas at REI on the search for gifts for Cousin Eddie, Grandma Wilkinson, or your significant other. Across the country, the outdoor retailers’ front doors will be locked, giving its 13,000-plus employees the chance to #OptOutside and make a difference.
Since 2015, REI has chosen the biggest shopping day of the year to shutter both their brick-and-mortar stores and their online sales. By urging their workers to spend the day outdoors instead, they’ve drawn attention to the importance of enjoying more of the holiday weekend with friends and family.
This year, they’re raising the bar by inviting both their staff and their customers to opt in on behalf of the environment.
“We’re still going to go outside and play—but this time we’re bringing our work gloves,” REI President and CEO Eric Artz says. “And we’re inviting you to join us.
“It’s time to fight for life outdoors—and life on this planet.”
One of the first action item he recommends is to join one of the nationwide cleanups already scheduled on Fri., Nov. 29. From 9am-3:30pm, all are welcome at an #OptOutside event taking place in partnership with Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition on Galbraith Mountain. Volunteers will be working on opening trails on the south side of Galbraith that were temporarily closed due to recent logging.
From 10am-12pm, another partnership with RE Sources and Surfrider will see people cleaning up marine debris to help protect the beach at the I and J streets waterway (at Roeder Avenue and Bellwether Way). Attendees at the family-friendly work party will have the chance to win prizes, and cleanup supplies will be provided.
If you can’t make either of those events but still want to make a difference, Artz says to commit to picking up trash you find while you’re on a hike or exploring the nooks and crannies of the place you live. REI employees across the United States have already spent much of November leaving trails and outdoor spaces better than they found them, and have picked up four tons of trash as a result.
Finally, Artz says committing to changing the world doesn’t have to be a one-day affair. An Opt to Act Plan with 52 weekly actions can be downloaded on REI’s website, giving people ideas for further stewardship. Many are simple, like carrying reusable shopping bags, opting out of junk mail, and forgoing traditional wrapping paper to cut down on waste during the holiday season.
By the time your New Year’s resolution comes around, you might want to learn how to calculate your carbon footprint, then set a goal to lower it by a certain percentage next year. It’s a lofty objective, but it’s better than #NotOpting for the planet.
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