The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
REI Urges Customers to #OptOutside on Black Friday
BY Connor McGuigan
REI will once again shutter its doors on Black Friday as part of its #OptOutside campaign, which encourages people to forgo bargain-hunting and spend America's busiest shopping day outside. The outdoor retailer will also suspend online sales and provide all 12,000 employees with a paid day off to enjoy the outdoors.
#OptOutside began in 2015 when REI executives began questioning their corporation's involvement in the annual bargain bacchanal. Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Americans generate one million extra tons of waste, a good portion of which can be attributed to Black Friday shopping.
REI decided to offer a different narrative for Black Friday—one that runs counter to consumerism and the environmental harms it generates. "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," said president and CEO Jerry Stritzke in the letter first announcing #OptOutside in 2015.
During that first #OptOutside campaign, REI partnered with 170 organizations to help get the word out and arranged for 1,000 state and local parks to waive entrance fees that day. #OptOutside resonated widely—more than 1.4 million people posted on social media with the #OptOutside tag. Ad Age called the campaign the "future of marketing."
After another successful campaign in 2016, REI has sought to widen the reach of #OptOutside this year with an "experiential search engine" designed to make it even easier for people to get outside. The search engine compiles thousands of photos depicting outdoor adventures that people have posted on Instagram with the hashtag #OptOutside. You can scroll through photos organized by activity, or search for outings in a particular area. If you find a photo that piques your interest—say a landscape in your area that you've never seen—you can click on the photo to find more information, including the name and location as well as the difficulty level of trails.
CEO Jerry Stritzke believes the search engine unites outdoor enthusiasts in an unprecedented fashion. "We have captured the experiences of the outdoor community and organized them in a way that no one has done before," he said in a press release announcing the #OptOutside 2017 campaign and search engine. "Right now, I think people are looking for a moment to take a breath, reground themselves, and come together."
Reposted with permission from our media associate SIERRA Magazine.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Singapore will become the first country in the world to place a ban on advertisements for carbonated drinks and juices with high sugar contents, its health ministry announced last week. The law is intended to curb sugar consumption since the country has some of the world's highest diabetes rates per capita, as Reuters reported.
By Susan Cosier
First there was Fred Stone, the third-generation dairy farmer in Maine who discovered that the milk from his cows contained harmful chemicals. Then came Art Schaap, a second-generation dairy farmer in New Mexico, who had to dump 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk a day.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that that bans the sale and manufacture of fur products in the state. The fur ban, which he signed into law on Saturday, prohibits Californians from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023, according to the AP.
By Simon Evans
During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.