Ten Ways REI Could Make Systemic Change and Actually Empower Women to be Forces of Nature

1.    Give gear and clothes to the houseless

2. Acknowledge feminism, the intricacies of the feminist movement and its history, and that feminism is the driving force of true women and minority empowerment

2.   Support and sell books by authors of color who talk about the systemic issues related to getting outside: Jourdan Imani Keith, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Lauret Savoy, Carolyn Finney, James E. Mills, Dianne D. Glave, Camille T. Dungy, Dorceta E. Taylor, Alison Hawthorne

The Brief Debrief

Last night, at the Mountain Shop in Portland, Oregon, women leaders in the outdoor community sat in front of an audience and discussed the intersection of race, gender, and environmentalism in the outdoor industry. One big takeaway from this event: we can do better. If you have “this much” privilege, you should be doing “this much” work. And if you aren't angry, you should be.

Hell Hath No Fury

On this day, dedicated to celebrating women (wow, we get a whole day!), a woman scorned speaks out on the anniversary of a chaos-inducing essay. In honor of Women's Day, this essay features horrible, gender-essentializing, fat-stigmatizing, and whiteness-loving advertisements for a hip activewear brand. On women's day, let's acknowledge the bullshit we are fed through media, societal structures, norms, and cultural conditioning.

Summer Outdoor Retailer 2016: Talking Environmentalism

Collective survival depends on collective action. Companies like One Percent for the Planet are important, but we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that this is all we can do. Too often environmental activism gets shrouded in the belief that donating money is the solution. Voting with our money by donating to good causes is helpful, but these are Band-Aid measures. The work shouldn't stop there.

It's On Us

Once upon a time, “the mythology of climbing was that it was a dangerous sport that you risk your life doing,” reflects Chris Kalous in an interview with Terra Incognita last July. “The other thing,” Kalous continues, “was that it was solely an outdoor activity. You were becoming a climber because you were already an outdoorsy person. So, most of the climbers brought the background from camping and backpacking. So, you brought that ethic with you, to be careful with the environment and not be messy, and everything else.” Now it’s not solely an outdoor activity and the concern is that the people coming from indoors might not necessarily have this outdoor-initiated background. The passion for protecting the wild spaces, and for upholding the unspoken community values, may not be ingrained.  

Save Our Wild Salmon and Remove the Dead-beat Dams

Salmon are the most important of all commercial and sport fishes, yet we have polluted their waters, overfished them, and made it nearly impossible for them to get to and from their spawning grounds. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save this species from going extinct.

On Thursday, December 1, 2016 from 7-9pm, Patagonia Portland will be hosting a party to raise awareness about our wild salmon and rivers.

Merging Digital Literacy With Physical Presence

Digital literacy is a powerful tool, but it can also fall short when it comes to real change. Facebook and Twitter are effective in organizing and spreading messages like wild fire, but they can also keep us from getting outside where the work needs to be done. How do we merge our social media presence with our physical presence? Despite older generations giving millennials crap about being slackers who want freebies, millennials are living activism in their everyday behaviors. Joe Kessler of The Intelligence Group says that, “Millenials view social activism much more as it relates to their overall persona then the generations before them. Our research indicates they are significantly engaged…[Their social activism] is insinuated in every aspect of their lives.”

Illiterate Politics

When the illiterate vote they are not voting based on textual information. They vote based on the television, where, according to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of people get their news. Television is curated for entertainment and exists based on ratings. Americans are dependent on the skillfully manipulated images that television procures. Applying this to political campaigns, we see propaganda that provokes pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation.

Trump's Rise to Power Has Imperialism Written All Over It and Now, More Than Ever, We Must Not Delay

It is a complex web of origins that got us here. We are still feeling the repercussions of imperialism. It started with Europeans believing that everything they “discovered” was theirs for the conquering. It started with our myopic and irresponsible practices towards the earth. If something doesn’t work in our favor, we force it to do so (slaves, wars, domestic violence, rape, building dams, monocropping, drugging female cows to lactate). Our colonial legacies have led to reverberations of the worst kind. Have we healed from our historical scars? Has the earth healed from industrial and agricultural rape? Not at all, because how can healing take place if the violence hasn’t been stopped? As M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty point out in their book Feminist Geneologies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, “psychic residues of different colonialisms make it necessary for us to grapple with the nuances of the interconnectedness of struggles for decolonization.” 

No Man's Land Aims to Dismantle Expectations

The second all-women adventure film festival, No Man’s Land, premiered last week in Carbondale, Colorado to a sold-out audience. Local families, friends, and supporters came out to view films that featured women exploring, adventuring, and living out their passions. Aisha Weinhold, the found of NML, made it happen with electric success despite the early naysayers that told her that she would have no luck finding enough material to exclusively showcase adventurous women.

The Conversation We're All Having Lately

Mackenzie Berg responds to Backpacker's elementary essay on "Four Reasons We Need More Female Outdoor Leaders." Despite it's attempt to encourage women to get outside and confidently take-up leadership roles, it did a really, really poor job at describing why there was a disparity in the outdoors between men and women in the first place. A four item list is also an incredibly lame attempt at talking about gender issues. First they admit they don't know the answer to this problem. Well, the problem is: patriarchy. So, the answer for Backpacker should be to fight the patriarchy (the systems in place), by producing media that instigates change and informs readers that women have been getting after it, while also acknowledging the societal expectations that may hold them back from achieving their greatest potential. This is in itself a large and complicated discussion to comb through. Mackenzie Berg, after much observation, thinking, and prodding of her own conceptions and thoughts, composed "The Conversation We're All Having Lately." And she lays it on us that the media hasn't been telling us the whole story. There are many women leading the way. There are many who, on instinct, push their limits without a drop of hesitation.

Determination and Relinquishment

After the Arcteryx, "Define Feminism" event that happened last night, June 21st, in Portland, Oregon, some conversations and thoughts came to surface that circled around the theme of determination. Every day we go into the unknown, whether it's getting on a rock face, going up a mountain, picking up the phone, driving to work, heading down a trail, entering or exiting a relationship. We have the power to choose how we respond to outcomes. We choose our realities. 

I'm Not Your Babe, Bro

Do not be afraid to cause a tsunami in the ocean of patriarchy.... “Beta Babes” is not just a trivial phrase that should be dismissed as catchy and cute. It is conning women out of their fullest potential.