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November 06, 2020 3 min read

corona virus

Phew. 2020 has almost come to a close and most of us are probably pretty relieved to have it be over. Despite the hardships and curveballs the past months have thrown at us, there is still reason to give thanks and be grateful that we’ve made it this far.

Despite Coronavirus causing some serious hindrances on normal life, many people for the first time turned to nature for a collective therapy session. National parks hit all-time high attendances, demand for bikes increased dramatically, and trails around the nation were full of first time hikers. This virus perhaps caused the revolution we needed to gain major attention towards the great outdoors and has increased awareness for the need for environment protection. Protecting the national parks is now personal as so many have grown fond of the beauty and enchantment of visiting them.

This Thanksgiving, rather than lineup outside of the nearest Best Buy for a flat screen TV, let’s make an ode to be more intentional. More intentional about our purchases, more intentional about where we are spending our dollars, and more intentional about what organizations we are choosing to support. Right now, the outdoors are suffering from wildfires, pollution, and rocked eco systems and many small businesses are experiencing all time lows with the pandemic. By making more mindful choices of where we spend our money, we can not only help nature but help someone’s livelihood. 

If you don’t have any extra money to spend here are 3 ways to give thanks to small businesses without spending a dime:

  1. Write a review- Reviews are what make people choose one restaurant over another, the factor that causes someone to decide to order a product or not, or the reason an item pops up when you google it. Small businesses rely on these reviews to stand out, to establish credibility, and to supplement future sales.
  2. Engage with social media - So many small businesses rely on their social media to gain awareness and stand out. Leaving a simple nice comment, liking posts, or sharing a product on your personal feed, directly improves a company’s visibility. These small engagements help growing companies so much in the initial stages!
  3. Recommend to a friend - Word of mouth is what keeps small businesses alive. If you really enjoy a product, let a friend know! If you’re obsessed with a service, bring a buddy next time. Letting people know in your inner circles about something you love can expand a business’ reach exponentially! 

small business

Here are three small businesses you can give thanks to that support environmental initiatives:

  1. Trek Light Gear - This incredible small business is run by a couple outside of Boulder, Colorado. Their website features durable camping blankets, nature inspired candles, and apparel perfect for any outdoor enthusiasts. With each purchase, Trek Light Gear partners withTrees For The Futureand plants two trees around the globe. So far, they’ve almost planted 40,000 trees! 
  2. National Parks Coffee Co  - If you’re looking to enjoy your morning coffee while promoting inclusion and diversity in the outdoors, National Parks Coffee is a perfect option. With a range of roasts inspired by your favorite national parks, you can feel great supporting this small business. Portions of each purchase goes directly back to their program,COFFEE AND CAUSE™, which is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in nature and bringing disadvantaged groups into nature.
  3. Novel Supply Co  - If you are looking for cool outdoor apparel, but don’t want to shop fast fashion, Novel Supply Co has some great options for you. Each piece of clothing is made sustainably and is created with minimal effects on the environment. Their  AFRESH  program also allows you to recycle past pieces of clothing to be turned into something new. Feel awesome rocking trendy attire while knowing it’s not harming the planet.

Even though this Thanksgiving may look different, with less family members, or in a different scenario than we’re used to, it doesn’t mean we can give thanks to our community. Whether you follow REI’s initiative to #OptOutside on Black Friday, or you research thoroughly where you’re going to spend your dollars, in a year of so much difficulty, we hope you can find inspiration in how many people are enjoying the outdoors. We want to use this increased outdoor audience as momentum to protect the outdoors more than ever in 2021.