By Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia
It is the work of this generation to make clear we reject the status quo—a race toward the destruction of our planet and the wild places we play in and love. We cannot sit idly by while large special interests destroy the planet for profit without regard for our children and grandchildren.
We have to keep the pressure on. That means being loud and visible in the streets, in town halls and our capitals, and most important, in our elections—voting for candidates who understand we are facing a climate crisis. It means protecting local surf breaks, rivers, grasslands, mountains—and supporting sustainable agriculture. We have to take personal responsibility, and that means consuming less and leading simpler, more examined lives.
The People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday, September 21 is a chance to make a big statement about the future of our planet. At Patagonia, we’ve decided that all four of our stores in NYC will remain closed until 3 p.m. that day so our employees will have the option to take part. And I’m looking forward to joining them.
Both sets of my grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy through Ellis Island in the 1920s and most of my family still lives on Staten Island. My family felt firsthand the effects of Hurricane Sandy and watched cherished places come to ruin, never to be rebuilt. My maternal great-grandfather’s first job was as a laborer digging the streets of NYC for ten cents a day (bring your own shovel).
It’s not lost on me that some of the very streets we will march on this coming Sunday are the ones my great grandfather, Raffeolo Miccio, labored side by side with other immigrants to build. They wanted to create a better future for their children and grandchildren and to build a city they could love and call home.
I know my great grandfather would want me to march for climate change because he loved this country, its freedoms, its diversity, its promise and he voted in every election he could after obtaining his citizenship, until his death at 98 years old. He found peace and solitude in wild places like the Catskill Mountains and was a fisherman and an organic gardener who kept chickens and bees. I used to think of his life as the “old country,” but now I wish I could talk with him about his gardening and composting because knowing how to grow my own food responsibly has become very important to me.
All of us at Patagonia—and especially our colleagues in New York City—felt we could not conduct business as usual on the day of the march. We knew we needed to take our place, help make a stand for future generations and inspire other businesses to do the same.
On Sunday, we’re joining a historic community of concerned citizens marching on behalf of the environment at the doors of a meeting of world leaders with the power to make real changes for our future. We stand up for a healthy planet and encourage lawmakers to make climate change an absolute priority.
Together, we will inspire our leaders to take action—and spur our neighbors to Vote the Environment in the upcoming midterms, a critical election we can’t afford to sit out.
Before the march, from 9 to 11 a.m., we invite you to join us at our Upper West Side store (located at 426 Columbus Avenue) for a community gathering with voter advocacy and environmental non-profit organizations including Protect our Winters, Catskill Mountainkeeper, New Yorkers Against Fracking and HeadCount. We will have in-store giveaways and serve coffee and bagels (as long as supplies last) before we head to the streets to join the march.
Patagonia stores in NYC will open at 3 p.m. ET.
This is a historic moment. Join the march.
Learn more about Patagonia’s efforts to engage voters—especially young people—and encourage them to Vote the Environment by clicking here.