"There needs to be a response that matches the size of the crisis," says Lisa Pike Sheehy, Patagonia's Vice President of Environmental Activism, expressing the Ventura, California company's frustration with the daunting and mounting challenges facing the conservation and environmental communities. For many in those communities—or simply for those that care about wild landscapes, clean air and clean water—it's been a tough year. Thanks primarily to the Trump administration, whose dedication to dirty energy and whose outright assault on common-sense environmental regulations—rules and laws designed to protect its citizens from air and water pollution and move the world towards reducing carbon in hopes of stabilizing an increasingly destabilized climate—seem so draconian and overwhelming that it can lead one to adopt a seriously grim outlook.
"If you’ve been paying attention, you'll know that things aren't going very well for the planet. It’s pretty easy to get depressed about it," says Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder and longtime activist who has been the main face of Patagonia's increasingly public feud with the Trump administration over its draconian attacks on public lands. But, in a new video, Chouinard continues, "I’ve always known that the cure for depression is action."
The latest form of action from Patagonia, who recently joined with several organizations to protest the Trump adminsitration's shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, is the launch of Patagonia Action Works.
"It's kind of a dating site" for connecting individuals with grassroots conservation and environmental organizations near where they live, explains Chouinard, partially tongue-in-cheek.
At first glance, Action Works looks like an already robust, information-filled platform with enormous potential. Visitors to the Action Works site simply enter their location (or allow their browser or device to detect their location) and specify the issues they're interested in getting more involved in. Action Works then presents a list of nearby organizations and upcoming events that can help individuals do just that. It also provides a way for organizations that are not currently part of the Action Works platform to apply for inclusion.
Patagonia calls Action Works the "next chapter" in it's 40-year history of activism, during which Patagonia has given almost $90 million dollars—through it's partnership with 1% for the Planet and its annual grants program—to local and regional organizations dedicated to conservation and environmental change.
“If we could connect our community, friends and customers directly with local groups working on issues they are passionate about, suddenly these organizations would have the capacity to achieve even more,” said Sheehy. “Everybody has a role to play in this movement.”
Watch the video below and head to Patagonia Action Works to learn more.