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Obama saved one last national monument from Trump. Here's how to help protect it.

Patagonia's ambitious plan to save Bears Ears National Monument might just work.

Obama saved one last national monument from Trump. Here's how to help protect it.

Without having been there in person, it's hard to fully grasp the majesty of Bears Ears, 1.35 million acres of public land in southeastern Utah.

During his final weeks in office, President Obama declared the land a national monument, providing legal protection to its pristine landscape.

For years, local indigenous tribes had lobbied the president to use his power under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the land a national monument to protect it from vandalism and mining. Rich with spiritual significance, the area contains ancient cliff dwellings, rock art, and other fascinating archaeological artifacts dating back thousands of years.


But with Obama out of office, Bears Ears is once again threatened, and one company has a plan to rally support.

Last month, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution calling on President Donald Trump to revoke Bears Ears' status as a national monument, again opening it up to exploitation by people and groups who want to drill and mine natural resources from the land.

That's where Patagonia comes in.

What better way to rally support for the national monument than to bring the experience of Bears Ears to the people directly? That's what Patagonia set out to do with an ambitious virtual reality video series.

Teaming up with Google, Patagonia created a virtual reality experience that immerses viewers in Bears Ears National Monument to hear stories from the likes of Navajo Mountain community member Willie Grayeyes, Hopi archaeologist Lyle Balenquah, and Zuni medicine man Octavius Seowtewa, among others.

It's a really cool experience — whether on desktop, mobile, or a virtual-reality-enabled device — and it has one goal: to inspire people into action.

Last year, the outdoor retail giant donated its Black Friday sales (estimated at more than $2 million) to grassroots environmental groups to fight climate change. Its campaign to help save Bears Ears follows a similar thread.

In January, Yvon Chouinard, the company's founder, wrote an open letter to Governor Herbert urging him to accept the new designation protecting the land. Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario began work retooling an in-progress "This Is Bears Ears" project meant to celebrate the new designation with one that more forcefully defends it.

"The call to action really came out of necessity because of the attacks by the legislature and governor," Marcario told Mashable. "And we wanted to get more people just understanding the issue, understanding what's at stake, and coming into the dialogue with us and the environmental fight to protect these public lands."

Now, the 10-part video series ends with a firm call to action urging viewers to call U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to make the case for preserving the land.

"It is imperative that we protect this culturally rich and recreationally spectacular landscape and keep public lands in public hands," reads a portion of the call script.

The Trump administration poses a very real threat to lands like Bears Ears and to the environment in general. Luckily, there are things you can do.

In addition to following through on Patagonia's Bears Ears call to action, we've created a list of 21 things you can do right now to help save the environment. While things may have, in many ways, shifted backward, it's important to remember that the fight to protect our world, our environment, is not over.

via Chris Potter / Flickr and Mike Mozart / Flickr

In the '80s, Americans lived through the Cola Wars, one of the most aggressive battles in the history of corporate junk food giants. Back then, there were only two real choices: Coke or Pepsi. Which, if you could tell the difference, kudos for your amazing sense of taste.

Today, America is besieged by the Chicken Sandwich Wars which began as a skirmish between Chick-fil-A and Popeyes and has since grown to include Burger King, McDonald's, and Wendy's.

A recent report found that Americans' spending on chicken sandwiches has quadrupled since Popyeys challenged Chick-fil-A. Although other companies have since jumped into the fray, Popeyes appears to have benefitted the most from the skirmish.

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via Chris Potter / Flickr and Mike Mozart / Flickr

In the '80s, Americans lived through the Cola Wars, one of the most aggressive battles in the history of corporate junk food giants. Back then, there were only two real choices: Coke or Pepsi. Which, if you could tell the difference, kudos for your amazing sense of taste.

Today, America is besieged by the Chicken Sandwich Wars which began as a skirmish between Chick-fil-A and Popeyes and has since grown to include Burger King, McDonald's, and Wendy's.

A recent report found that Americans' spending on chicken sandwiches has quadrupled since Popyeys challenged Chick-fil-A. Although other companies have since jumped into the fray, Popeyes appears to have benefitted the most from the skirmish.

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If you've ever donated to a cause but worried that your contribution wasn't really enough to drive real change, you're not alone. As one person, it can be tough to feel like you're making a real difference, especially if you don't have a lot to donate or if times are tough (aka there's a worldwide pandemic going on.)

That's why, for years, the idea of philanthropy felt a little bit like a rich person's thing: if you had millions, you could donate and make change. The rest of us were just tossing pennies into a cup without really doing much.

But that's a problem: the priorities of a wealthy few don't represent the priorities of many, which means that good causes are often left underfunded, leading to a lack of meaningful action.

The thing is: it doesn't have to be like this. We can all make a difference, especially if we pool our money together.

Enter: Giving Circles. These are when groups of people with shared values come together to drive change. They do it by pooling their time and money together, then deciding as a circle where it should go. That way, they can cause a real targeted change in one place quickly in a very people-powered way by giving what they can, whether that's volunteer hours, money, or a mix of both. Best of all, Giving Circles are a social experience — you get to work together as a community to make sure you do the most good you can.

In other words, giving circles are a way to democratize philanthropy, making it more accessible regardless of your age, income, gender, or race.

That's why this year, The Elevate Prize, a nonprofit founded in 2019, is launching a new pop-up "Giving Circle" program so that problem solvers, budding philanthropists, and anyone that wants to do good can come together and drive real impact at a large scale. And you can do it all in just 90 minutes.

All you have to do is join one of the Elevate Giving Circles online. Learn about organizations doing good for the world, then pool your money together, and as a group, direct it where you think that donation could make the most difference.

But that's not all: every single donation made is matched by the Elevate Prize Foundation — basically guaranteeing that you double your impact for good. The theme for the first cycle is education, and Elevate Giving will match up to $75,000 in total donations for each cycle.

Ready to get involved? Elevate Giving experiences start June 26th, so sign up now for your spot to make a difference. There's no minimum fee to join either — so get involved no matter what you have to give. Now that's philanthropy for all.