How the Outdoor Industry Responded to Donald Trump's Election

From burning sneakers to Olympic pleas, here's how some of the outdoor world's power players reacted in the week following the election

The election of Donald Trump has solicited several responses from the outdoor industry. (Getty Images/iStock)
American Culture

Since Donald Trump was elected president, reactions across the country have ranged from horrified to elated. One common theme: many are concerned about Trump’s environmental track record (just look at the environmental report card we compiled for him). Here’s a look at what else outdoor leaders have said post-election.

Patagonia

Patagonia is vocal about its environmental activism and often looks to position causes above clothing (see the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign). So it’s no surprise the company’s post-election note occupied prime real estate on its homepage. The letter expressed disappointment that the issue of climate change was relatively absent from campaign dialogue and that we have elected a leader who denies that it’s occurring.

We challenge those elected—as well as those already serving—to stop treating a changing climate as a political football and recognize it as a crisis that affects every constituency. Our planet is the foundation on which rests the American economy, our security and public health. And it’s suffering on our watch…

If our elected leaders fail to approach the environment and climate change as serious issues worthy of urgency and action, it will be a mistake. Activists will hold you accountable. We will grow and deepen our resolve to protect what we love. We will fight harder and smarter, and use every means at our disposal to carry on and prevail for the sake of the country and the planet and the wild places and creatures that need our voice.

Outdoor Industry Association

While OIA did not endorse a presidential candidate, it did back 20 politicians in House and Senate races based on their support for the outdoor industry and the outdoor recreation economy (77 percent of the OIA’s picks won). OIA will send Trump’s transition team both policy and appointment recommendations that reflect the organization’s values of conservation and stewardship. The group’s post-election statement emphasized that the outdoor industry is ready to assert its power:

There is growing recognition, however, that the outdoor recreation industry will be one of our nation’s most powerful economic drivers and that the outdoor recreation economy depends on investment in our public lands and waters, a balanced approach to international trade and government regulations and real action to address the immediate threat of climate change.

REI

CEO Jeff Striztke addressed his employees via the company’s blog on November 13. He didn’t take sides in his address, instead emphasizing the important role the outdoors play in many people’s lives and waxing poetic on the importance of finding common ground:

It occurs to me that, as we move past the election, we have a nation that needs to heal…

That’s a role that the outdoors, I believe, plays for many people—myself included. It’s where we are our best selves, it’s where we experience life at its fullest. And it’s when we go outdoors with people that I think we break down barriers and have deeper relationships…

[And] I think that—almost by definition—being outdoors with somebody—I think puts you in a better posture to understand what you’re aligned about, what you care about…so I do believe in the idea of being United Outside…that the outdoors is a place for all.

And I really do believe that it’s not about sides. There are people who are dyed-in-the-wool red who love the outdoors just as much as someone who is dyed-in-the-wool blue.

Outdoor Alliance

The recreation-focused land conservation organization reiterated its commitment to upholding its mission: protecting America’s public lands. A Republican House and Oval Office could very well mean that public lands could be transferred back to the states—a public land heist—which would likely result in their degradation by development or even their outright sale.

As an organization and a community, we are going to have to step up and play a big role. Some conservation organizations, especially those that have historically been more partisan, are going to have a tough time in this new political landscape. Our community has a compelling story to share about the importance of public lands to people, and about the ability of protected public lands to generate economic benefits, especially for rural communities. As a bipartisan community of people with direct, meaningful experiences on our public lands, we have a tremendous responsibility now to communicate our values to incoming policymakers and be leaders in protecting the places that matter.

International Olympic Committee

Before the election, International Olympic Committee (IOC) members didn’t share a clear stance on how the United States’ next leader would affect the country’s only bid to host another Olympics—in Los Angeles in 2024. The IOC decides on this in 2017, so the current political climate is not irrelevant given Trump’s isolationist policies and his stance toward refugees. “I think for some of the IOC members they would say, ‘Wait a second. Can we go to a country like that, where we’ve heard things that we take offense to?’” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti told the AP after the election. Still, the L.A. 2024 committee, Garcetti, and IOC president Thomas Bach formally congratulated Trump and fell back on the line that they hope the Olympics “transcend politics.” At the bid team’s first public presentation to IOC officials on Wednesday, sprinter Allyson Felix also brought up Trump:

We just finished our presidential election, and some of you may question America’s commitment to its founding principles. I have one message for you: please don’t doubt us. America’s diversity is our greatest strength.

Protect Our Winters

POW reacted first on Facebook, posting a status expressing both the organization’s disappointment about the result and a pledge to fight back harder for the planet. It followed up on Facebook with actions supporters can take: Sign up for email alerts to stay informed about key legislation and issues, spread the word about the importance of fighting against climate change, donate, call your elected official, and volunteer with the organization.

What happened last night was sad and disappointing. Never did we seriously consider the possibility of a climate denier winning the presidency. We won’t sugarcoat it. Historic initiatives such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the Clean Power Plan are now on life support.

So that’s the situation we have. But here’s the silver lining. While we’re all deeply disappointed, all of us at POW are more committed to our mission than ever before. And we hope you are, too.

Ben and Jerry’s and New Belgium

In partnership with POW, Ben and Jerry’s and New Belgium collaborated to create a limited-edition chocolate cookie dough ale to gather attention and inspire action around climate change. (Proceeds from sales of the beer will benefit POW and fund climate activism.) The campaign, 100 Days to Change Our Ways, highlights the importance of a president’s first 100 days in office. “We’re demanding that the new administration moves us forward on climate policy, not backwards,” read the campaign’s press release. Specifically, the campaign urges the new administration to adhere to the Obama administration’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. In Ben and Jerry’s own letter to Trump, the company stated that it is ready to defend the progress America has made on climate change and to continue to be advocates for things like racial and social justice, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights.

New Balance

Speaking about free-trade deals, the company’s VP told the Wall Street Journal that they “feel things are going to move in the right direction” under Donald Trump, which provoked an uproar from the people who saw it as a blanket endorsement of the candidate. New Balance then released a statement clarifying that it “publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to Election Day that focused on American manufacturing job creation,” adding that “we welcome all walks of life.” Then the Daily Stormer, a white supremacist blog, declared New Balance “the official shoes of white people” and encouraged readers to buy them. The company was again compelled to respond, posting on Twitter and Facebook that it “does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form.” This didn’t stop people from burning their New Balances and posting the videos online.

New Balance does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form. One of our officials was recently asked to comment on a trade policy that was taken out of context. As a 110-year-old company with five factories in the U.S. and thousands of employees worldwide from all races, genders, cultures and sexual orientations, New Balance is a values-driven organization and culture that believes in humanity, integrity, community and mutual respect for people around the world. We have been and always will be committed to manufacturing in the United States.

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