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Patagonia Steps Up Environmental Activism With 'Dating Site' For Grassroots Projects

Things are so bad for the planet right now that it’s easy to get depressed about it, says Patagonia Inc. founder Yvon Chouinard.

The cure for that depression, he says, is action.

So he launched Patagonia Action Works, which Chouinard describes as a “dating site” that connects individuals with opportunities to support and get involved with grassroots environmental groups. It matches people with events and volunteering opportunities in their area as well as petitions they can sign and ways to donate money. Participating organizations cover issues of land, water, climate, communities and biodiversity.

The Ventura, Calif.-based outdoor clothing retailer is no stranger to activism. It has given $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to environmental groups since 1985 as part of a pledge to donate at least 1% of sales to preserve and restore nature, and employees can take two-month internships to work for environmental groups while still collecting Patagonia pay and benefits.

“Patagonia’s reason for existence is to force government and corporations to take action in solving our environmental problems,” Chouinard said in a video promoting the new program.

The company made headlines recently for taking a stand against President Donald Trump’s action to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, the largest such cut in U.S. history. Patagonia made a statement on its website that “The President Stole Your Land,” and it joined a lawsuit to block the move.

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