The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
REI to Boycott Black Friday, Encourage Americans to #OptOutside
For many retailers, Black Friday is one of the most profitable days of the year, and it is no different for specialty outdoor retailer REI. As CEO Jerry Stritzke told CNN, "Black Friday has been among the company's top 10 sales days in past years."
But this year, they are shuttering all 143 of their retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers and giving their 12,000 full- and part-time employees paid time off not only on Thanksgiving, but on Black Friday as well. Instead of business as usual, they are encouraging their employees and customers to do what they love most and go outside. As for online shoppers, they can still place orders, but they won't be processed until Saturday, and the site's "homepage will try to divert buyers with a 'cover screen' encouraging them to explore the outdoors instead," reports CNN.
“Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside," said Stritzke. "We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there and inviting America to OptOutside with us because we love great gear, but we are even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks.”
REI, founded in 1938 and headquartered near Seattle, ended 2014 with $2.2 billion dollars in sales. But it's not your typical company. It's now the nation's largest consumer co-op, with 5.5 million active members. The company is devoted to its members, who make up at least 80 percent of its sales, according to USA Today.
In a letter to his members, Stritzke invokes naturalist John Muir, who said in 1901, “thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.” I can only imagine what John Muir would have to say about people getting trampled to death at a Wal-Mart in the shopping frenzy that has become Black Friday.
“As a member-owned co-op, our definition of success goes beyond money," writes Stritzke. "We believe that a life lived outdoors is a life well lived and we aspire to be stewards of our great outdoors. We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles. Please join us and inspire us with your experiences. We hope to engage millions of Americans and galvanize the outdoor community to get outside.”
The move is part of a growing Anti-Black Friday movement. Last year, Patagonia encouraged customers to swap their used items for other used items or new ones, if needed. Patagonia has actually been encouraging its customers for years not to buy products they don't need.
In an email to its subscribers on Cyber Monday last year, Patagonia said:
"Cyber Monday, and the culture of consumption it reflects, puts the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. We’re now using the resources of one-and-a-half planets on our one and only planet.
"Because Patagonia wants to be in business for a good long time—and leave a world inhabitable for our kids—we want to do the opposite of every other business today. We ask you to buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime on this jacket or anything else."
Groups such as Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir have been urging Americans to turn Black Friday into "Buy Nothing Day" to fight the overconsumption that they say plagues the U.S.
You can share your Black Friday plans with REI by uploading a photo to their website or by using the hashtag #OptOutside on social media.
Watch CEO Jerry Stritzke explain why REI will be boycotting Black Friday this year:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
The crowd appears to attack a protestor in a video shared on Twitter by ITV journalist Mahatir Pasha. VOA News / Youtube screenshot
Some London commuters had a violent reaction Thursday morning when Extinction Rebellion protestors attempted to disrupt train service during rush hour.
By Kristen Fischer
Though the science has shown sugary drinks are not healthy for children, fruit drinks and similar beverages accounted for more than half of all children's drink sales in 2018, according to a new report.
Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.