Some people call it Black Friday but it will always Feel Good Friday to me. Another group that encourages you to do something other than shop today is Recreational Equipment, Inc., more commonly known as REI.
REI is an 80-year old, member owned co-op that sells everything you need for an outdoor adventure. Since 2015, they've closed their stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving, paid their 13,000 employees for a vacation day and encouraged them to #OptOutside.
Four years later, REI is taking it up a level and encouraging people to join them in a nationwide day of action they're calling Opt to Act. They'll be hosting events with different organizations to clean parks, beaches and riverbanks across the United States. If you need some inspiration to get motivated, watch this one-minute video then search for a cleanup effort near you.
Today's day of action is only the beginning. REI has created a 52-week plan consisting of simple actions you can take to "reduce your impact, get active, and leave the world better than you found it". Examples include switching to electronic bill notification and payment, bringing washable cutlery to use at work, and checking your tire pressure to maintain optimal gas mileage. If you're interested in participating, you can read about all the actions here and sign up for weekly calendar notifications.
In addition to recommending ways for all of us to make a positive impact, REI is taking steps of their own. They've expanded their rental offerings and are piloting a used gear buy-back program for members so that gently used gear can be resold and its life can be extended. They're also aiming to operate at zero-waste by the end of 2020 and reduce plastic packaging for both themselves and their partners.
Whether you start your action today or at some point this year, be sure to let the people in your social media circles know. Post your stories and photos on the REI Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @REI. Be sure to tag them with #OptOutside!