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Dark Days

REI and Patagonia are making Black Friday slightly less awful.

First up: Patagonia announced it will donate 100 percent of its global Black Friday sales to grassroots environmental organizations working in local communities.

Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario emphasized the importance of effecting local change in a statement, but she added that it’s crucial to push for government action on climate change, too.

REI, another outdoor retailer, takes a different tack this Black Friday: Shutting its doors entirely. For the second year in a row, the Washington-based company will close on the shopping holiday, encouraging employees and customers to go outdoors instead in a campaign dubbed #OptOutside. That does sound better than brawling over a flat-screen at the Walmart.

Before you go nominating Patagonia or REI for the Nobel, remember that these are for-profit companies and their Black Friday plans aren’t just benevolent gifts to both planet and people: This is also astute marketing.

When we can’t rely on government to conserve the planet, we might have to look to businesses for leadership instead. Luckily, some are willing to provide it.