One of the great ironies of modern American life is the day after we give thanks for all that we have, many of our fellow citizens wake early the following morning and flock to the stores to go further into debt buying things they don’t really need. (Shout out to REI for closing their brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday.)
If Black Friday wasn’t enough, there is Cyber Monday. No need to fight the holiday hordes in person where there is a small possibility of burning off some of the previous days caloric excess, and where there is a chance your hard-earned cash will be spent supporting small businesses and the local economy, one can sit behind a dimly lit screen and direct their dollars to impersonal conglomerates lining the pockets of already highly compensated CEOs.
After the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, and the aforementioned Cyber Monday, almost as an afterthought, behold Giving Tuesday. If there is any liquidity left in your bank account, a seemingly endless array of worthy charities vie for your spare change. How bass-ackwards.
We need to change the paradigm. It’s time to put giving first. Most of the readers of this blog will have, hopefully, spent some time over the past year engaging in recreational pursuits on public lands. Now, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know our public lands are underfunded, and in some cases, threatened. They need your help.
There are numerous local, state, and national organizations fighting the good fight. For the price of a tank of gas, you can demonstrate your support in a tangible way. Contribute to trail maintenance, give to educational outreach, donate to land and park advocacy groups. Pick a cause or group which resonates with your values. You decide, and remember, there is no bad choice. (If you need a suggestion, email me.)
Now for the real game-changer: Give on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Place charity before avarice. Put your first fruits to good use. This way, when you meditate on what you have to be grateful for, you can do so knowing you have set thoughts into action and your beliefs into substance.