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Patagonia launches initiative to boost environmental activism

Patagonia launches initiative to boost environmental activism

Outdoor retailer Patagonia is launching an environmental activism initiative after recently challenging the Interior Department over changes to national monument designations.

The new effort, Patagonia Action Works, is being launched with a goal of getting the retailer's supporters more engaged in politics.

In a video posted on its website, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard describes the new grass-roots activism effort as one that follows the company's founding principals to "force government and corporations to take action in solving our environmental problems."

The video shows clips of protestors outside the U.S. Capitol holding signs saying, "Stop this monumental mistake." 

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"If you've been paying attention, you'll know that things haven't been going very well for the planet," Chouinard says in the promotional video. "It's pretty easy to get depressed about it. I've always known that the cure for depression is action."

The new initiative is built off of the company's long-standing policy to donate 1 percent of its proceeds to groups they call their "grantees." They are described as groups "dedicated to the preservation and restoration of natural environments."

Patagonia Action Works aims to connect individuals directly to those same "grantee" groups to "take action," according to the company's website.

"This truly is the next chapter in our company’s forty year history in activism," said Corley Kenna, a Patagonia spokeswoman, told The Hill "I think 2017 was the worst year on record for public lands, we saw things happened to pubic lands that had never happened before."

The retailer has been an outspoken advocate for public land rights and more recently against actions taken by the Trump administration.

In December, Patagonia sued to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE’s move to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

The company called Trump’s announcement that he was reducing the size of Bears Ears by 84 percent an “extreme overreach in authority.” 

Trump’s actions to shrink Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, both federally protected national monuments in southern Utah, took effect last week.

The Bears Ears National Monument is now 16 percent of the size it was when former President Obama created in 2015, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is just more than half its original size from when former President Clinton designated it in 1996.

The former monument areas are still federally owned and subject to federal standards for mining, drilling and other activities. But the protections are significantly lower, and many previously banned practices are now allowed.

Patagonia protested the anticipated changes to the two monuments during the outdoor retailer convention in Colorado at the end of January.