Black Friday 2019 will mark the fifth year in a row that outdoor supply company REI will close its stores and encourage people to #OptOutside instead of shopping on the biggest retail day of the year.
But this year, the company is taking #OptOutside to the next level by encouraging customers and employees to join nationwide clean-up efforts in support of the environment.
In a letter posted on REI's website, CEO Eric Artz wrote about climate change, calling it "the greatest existential threat facing our co-op."
"I believe we do not have the luxury of calling climate change a political issue. This is a human issue. And we must act now," Artz wrote.
Artz asked customers to "opt to act" this holiday season by spending Black Friday outdoors with friends and family instead of at stores. He also urged people to join clean-up efforts through the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and United By Blue, or, if there are no clean-ups in your area, to pick up trash in your community as you spend time outdoors. You can also get details on how to host a DIY clean-up.
The clean-ups will take place in Seattle, Wash.; San Francisco; San Diego; Phoenix; Austin, Texas; Denver; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Philadelphia and New York City. The clean-ups aren't all on Black Friday — they'll take place throughout the month.
REI also debuted a new 52-week plan to reduce individuals' environmental footprints.
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