A retail giant is giving its Black Friday sales to fight climate change. Why? Trump.

At the office at Patagonia, a retailer that sells outdoor clothing, the outcome of the 2016 election immediately brought concerns about climate change to mind.

Fighting global warming has been built in to the company's core mission for years. So it was alarming for many higher-ups at the retailer to wake up on Nov. 9, 2016, knowing that the new president-elect, Donald Trump, has said climate change is a hoax (despite overwhelming evidence saying otherwise).

A melting glacier drips away in Austria in August 2016. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.


Patagonia is delivering a big response, announcing plans to donate 100% of its Black Friday sales to grassroots environmental groups.

"Following the election, the idea was generated internally as a way to demonstrate our deep commitment to environmental issues," says Corley Kenna, global director of communications and PR for the company.

Photo by Kyle Sparks/Patagonia, used with permission.

In a blog post announcing the decision, Patagonia specified that proceeds from both in-store and online sales will be given to nearly 800 groups across the U.S. fighting climate change at the grassroots level.

"During a difficult and divisive time, we felt it was important to go further and connect more of our customers, who love wild places, with those who are fighting tirelessly to protect them."

"This we know: If we don’t act boldly, severe changes in climate, water and air pollution, extinction of species and erosion of topsoil are certain outcomes," the blog post reads.

Photo by Bernd Wustneck/AFP/Getty Images.

Through its 80 stores and Patagonia.com, the retailer expects Black Friday sales to surpass $2 million, CNN reported.

To be fair, the global retailer readily admits it's not without flaws in the fight to save our planet.

"We make products using fossil fuels, built in factories that use water and other resources, create waste and emit carbon into the air," Patagonia admits on its website.

But the company, which already gives 1% of its net annual sales to eco-groups, says it's always committed to doing better:

"Knowing we are part of the problem, we must also recognize that climate change — as a deadly condition of infinite human actions — is not an issue we can tackle outright. That’s why we try to stay focused on specific things Patagonia can do to reduce, neutralize, or even reverse the root causes of climate change."

Patagonia's Black Friday plans are a great example of what more companies should be doing in the wake of an alarming election.

It's crucial that the business community — with the funds and influence and power to ​affect​ change on a massive scale — follows Patagonia's lead and protects the most vulnerable people and causes that need assistance now more than ever. Thankfully, when it comes to the climate, Patagonia isn't alone — many brands are already standing up to Trump and his plans to dismantle the progress we've made.

None of us should feel helpless. We need to stand with these businesses, and alongside each other, and do what we can to march forward — especially when it's an uphill climb.

Photo by Kyle Sparks/Patagonia, used with permission.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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