REI

Since 2015, the outdoor gear giant REI has gone the opposite direction of most retailers on Black Friday. Instead of slashing prices and advertising sales on the biggest shopping day of the year, REI has closed its doors, shuttered its online sales, and encouraged would-be shoppers to go outside instead. Employees are still paid as if it were a work day.

For the past four years, the #OptOutside campaign has taken people from crowds and consumerism to the simple joys of nature. But this year, they're taking the idea one step further. Through more than 100 organized clean-up events, REI is asking people to "Opt to Act" for the environment.

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Annie Reneau

Two weeks ago, I was enjoying a leisurely seaside breakfast in Bali, watching the waves of the Indian Ocean roll in. It was an idyllic scene—palm trees, warm sun, turquoise waters—exactly the kind of place we call paradise.

As I sipped my coffee, my travel companion and I noticed a group of people gathered on the beach. They meandered along the shore, raking through the sand and placing things into a wheelbarrow. I thought perhaps they were treasure hunting, but a waiter told us they were picking up trash that had washed ashore overnight.

After breakfast, we walked along that same beach. Even after the big group cleanup, there was a lot that they'd missed. A few plastic bags here, a disposable diaper there.

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Photo by Vivianne Lemay on Unsplash

Those of us who want a sustainable future for our grandkids try really hard to do the right things for our planet. We grew up internalizing the three R's–Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—but it appears that one of those Rs has not lived up to its promise.

We all know that plastic and excessive packaging of all kinds are problematic, but most of us don't worry about it too much because most of it can be recycled anyway, right? We cheerfully put our yogurt containers and pizza boxes and egg cartons into our curbside recycling bin, confident that we've done our part for the environment by not throwing them into a landfill.

We imagine our municipalities taking that recycling to some kind of local recycling plant, where our plastic and paper gets transformed into shiny new eco-friendly products. Right?

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It’s not every day that you see a story like this. A real David v. Goliath story that results in a win for all of humanity.

The Ecuadorian government wanted to drill for oil through seven million acres of land in the Amazon. However, their efforts were stopped thanks to the Waorani people of Pastaza, who won a historic court ruling against the government. The lawsuit represented 16 Waorani communities who live inside the Ecudorian jungle.

As Rachel Riederer for The New Yorker reports:

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