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    Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015

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    In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders—corporations and foundations—mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets over $5 million) are doing important work but they make up just 2% of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50% of all environmental grants and donations.

    Meanwhile, funding the environmental movement at a grassroots level—where change happens from the bottom up and lasts—has never been more important. But these groups continue to be woefully underfunded.

    The funding paradigm is out of balance. We aim to change it.

    Above: Patagonia Environmental & Social Initiatives 2015. Pick up a printed copy at your local Patagonia store or read the digital version. Cover photo: Donnie Hedden

    Continue reading "Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015" »

    Solutions Series, Part 7: Vote!

    By Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff Project

    On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, U.S. citizens will vote in the 2014 midterm elections. Patagonia supports candidates who will push hard for clean, renewable energy, restore clean water and air and turn away from risky, carbon-intensive fuels. We support leaders who will act on behalf of the future and the planet.

    Voting is an action we can all take, the ballot a place we can all be heard.

    In this installment of her Solutions Series, Annie Leonard, founder of The Story of Stuff Project, writes about the importance of voting, especially in the midterm elections where participation is disturbingly low
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    “Good citizens take an interest in people and issues outside themselves. . . . They inform themselves. They volunteer. They listen. They take the long view. They vote.”
                                                   
    –Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

    In 1990, I visited Haiti just after the country chose its first democratically elected president. In the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haitians proudly showed me their inked thumbs, marked as they entered the polls. They were so excited at being able to vote that two weeks later they hadn’t washed off the ink.

    Contrast that with the United States, where about 60 percent of those eligible vote in presidential elections. The midterm congressional elections in November draw about 40 percent. Compared to other countries such as Australia, Belgium or Chile, where 9 out of 10 voters turn out, that’s pitiful.

    Artwork (above): Besties by Todd Gilloon, part of our crowd-sourced poster project to get the vote out. A portion of the proceeds benefit the artists and HeadCount.

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    Solutions Series, Part 6: Resist giving in to disillusionment

    By Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff Project

    The 2014 midterm elections are fast approaching in the United States. Patagonia supports candidates who will push hard for clean, renewable energy, restore clean water and air and turn away from risky, carbon-intensive fuels. We support leaders who will act on behalf of the future and the planet.

    Voting is an action we can all take, the ballot a place we can all be heard.

    In this installment of her Solutions Series, Annie Leonard, founder of The Story of Stuff Project, writes about what voting and citizenship mean to her. Stay tuned for a follow-up post, with actions you can take, later this week

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    “True patriotism . . . is loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.”
                                                                                        
    –Mark Twain

    Recently, trying to fix a discrepancy between my passport and driver’s license, I had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. I arrived at dawn to stand in a line down the block. It started raining; soaked and frustrated, I left. Before the next visit I made an appointment on the DMV website, but when I got there the queue still looked like Soviet-era shoppers outside a Moscow grocery store. Finally someone suggested I go the day before a holiday, and so it was that I spent the morning of Christmas Eve rectifying a bureaucratic error.

    Artwork (above): Flower Power by Amy Diebolt. A portion of the proceeds benefit the artist and HeadCount.

    Continue reading "Solutions Series, Part 6: Resist giving in to disillusionment" »

    Gone Marching

    By Betsy Pantazelos

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    Today did not start like most other days for the employees of Patagonia stores in New York City. We didn’t restock shelves, we didn’t organize products and we didn’t open the doors at normal hours for our customers. Instead, with the blessing of the company—and our CEO, Rose Marcario, at our side—we joined our neighbors for the People’s Climate March.

    After a gathering at the Upper West Side store with Protect Our Winters, Catskill Mountainkeeper, HeadCount, employees and supporters, we all headed for the streets to reinforce the importance of keeping the health of the environment at the forefront of world discussions instead of on the back burner. What followed was the largest rally of its kind to date.

    Above: Employees and customers assembled to march. Photo: Betsy Pantazelos

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    Why I’m Joining the People’s Climate March

    By Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia

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    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.

    Continue reading "Why I’m Joining the People’s Climate March" »

    Working for Wildness – Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2013

    By Yvon Chouinard

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    “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Thoreau

    This year, Patagonia will be 40 years old. There is much to celebrate on this anniversary, but what I am proudest of is the support we’ve given the people who do the real work to save wildness: grassroots activists.

    I’m not an activist. I don’t really have the guts to be on the front lines. But I have supported activists ever since a young man gave a slide show in 1972 at a city council meeting in Ventura. What was proposed was an extension of utilities, roads and urban services across the Ventura River to support a planned freeway-related commercial development on the western floodplain near the river’s mouth. A lot of scientists got up to speak in support of the project. They said it wouldn’t hurt the river because it was already “dead.” Mark Capelli, who was a young graduate student and called himself “Friends of the Ventura River,” then gave a slide show showing all the life that was still in the river: eels, birds, raccoons. He pointed out there were still 50 steelhead showing up each year to migrate upstream. That brought the house down. The project was eventually stopped. He showed me what one person can do. He gave me hope. We gave him desk space.

    [Above: After 40 years, we still follow an early vision to protect wilderness for the sake of wilderness. Lost Arrow Spire, Yosemite Valley, California. Photo: Glen Denny]

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    I Voted the Environment

    by Yvon Chouinard

    Now that the election is over, our work continues. I support the front-line activists, the river keepers and tree sitters who work to save a single patch of land or stretch of water. Today in the United States, small groups of kayakers and fishermen work tirelessly to bring down dams; duck hunters toil to preserve wetlands. And it’s mothers who exert the most pressure to clean up local toxic landfills. Activism never dies. Keep up the good work.

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    Stay involved with us: http://www.patagonia.com/enviro

     

    Register to Vote Here – It’s National Voter Registration Day

    by Andy Bernstein

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    Presidential elections are the most popular and least popular event in America. In 2008, 131 million Americans voted for President. That's three times as many people as watched the Oscar's. A full 90 percent of registered voters turned out and more than four out of five young registered voters cast a ballot in 2008, marking the largest total turnout in history.
     
    But that leaves about 70 million eligible Americans who sat it out. Think everyone you know votes? Think again. Across the board, in every demographic, people choose to let others decide who should determine the future.
     
    There are many reasons for this. When unregistered voters are asked why they aren't registered, about half say they just don't care (give them points for honesty). But that leaves over a huge swash of Americans who found the voter registration system too confusing or missed the deadlines and didn't register for that reason.

    [Above: Jack Johnson breaks his no-social-media rule for National Voter Registration Day. http://bit.ly/registertovotejackjohnson]

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    Remembering Russell Train

    Russell Train, who led the Council on Environmental Quality under President Nixon and then the Environmental Protection Agency under Gerald Ford, died Monday, September 17. The New York Times in its obituary said that Mr. Train, "shaped the world’s first comprehensive program for scrubbing the skies and waters of pollution, ensuring the survival of ecologically significant plants and animals, and safeguarding citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals."

    [Above: Remembering Russell Train. Video: World Wildlife Fund]

    I had the honor of working with Mr. Train on an essay Patagonia published in 2004, when George Bush was president. We run the essay here again because of its strong support for the environment, because of Mr. Train’s bi-partisan approach to the world we live in, and because of its elegance. (Some parts of the essay relate only to the Bush administration but most of the essay could have been written very recently.)

    Continue reading "Remembering Russell Train" »

    What’s at Stake for the Places We Love this Election

    by Vanessa Kritzer, League of Conservation Voters

    AyC3QVOCEAEtA0u.jpg largeWhen you wake up on November 7th, what kind of future do you want to have ahead?

    A future in which your children – and the generations beyond them – will have the opportunities to play in the same forests, discover the same animals, climb the same mountains, and swim in the same lakes that have been such an important part of your life? A future when you don’t have to worry that the air you breathe and the water you drink may be endangering your life and the lives of your loved ones? Or a future in which Big Oil and Dirty Coal are given free rein to pollute our environment, put our public health at risk, and hasten global warming in order to protect their billions of dollars in profits?

    [Above: The author shares why she votes the environment during Wilco's concert at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Vienna, Virginia. Photo: @LCVoters]

    You might think that no election could have such a major impact on your life, but the decisions we make this November – and the leaders we elect – will make all the difference in whether we can protect the places and way of life that we love going forward.

    Continue reading "What’s at Stake for the Places We Love this Election " »

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