This holiday season, I have an early New Year’s resolution for the sake of Planet Earth: let’s all become radical environmentalists.
This sounds like a big leap—but it’s not. All you need is a sewing kit and a set of repair instructions.
As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.
Ken Yager is a man who understands the value of volunteerism. He approaches his work with the belief, creativity and passionate toil of a big wall climber. It’s an apt metaphor as he’s climbed El Capitan dozens of times. Along with his wife Schree and two children, he lives in El Portal, located three and half miles down the road from the Arch Rock entrance station to Yosemite National Park. And as the founder and cardiovascular system of the Yosemite Climbing Association, he is a leader of ideas and action.
The Yosemite Climbing Association represents an international community of climbers who are also activists, dreamers and doers. Core to the Yosemite Climbing Association’s mission is the preservation of the artifacts and lore of every age of Yosemite climbing history. Through Ken’s sharp eye, ear and hand, the collection covers a critical portrayal and understanding of the importance and scope of Yosemite’s impact on global climbing.
Above: Ken Yager and Lynn Hill at the Facelift sign-in table. Lynn was one of 1,467 unique volunteers who participated in this year's trash-cleaning event. Yosemite National Park, California. All photos by Steve Rathbun / Courtesy of Yosemite Facelift
Now that full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been made public, we can say unequivocally that we oppose it, as it advances the interests of big business at the expense of the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses. This confirms our previous fears (here and here) about the agreement’s serious social and environmental costs.
The proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, crafted behind closed doors over a five-year period, may indeed cut tariffs, increase trade and build closer economic and regulatory relationships among its signatories, as its proponents say. But it will also weaken worldwide labor standards, harm the global environment, diminish regulatory safeguards and enable corporations and individuals that already have far too much influence gain even more at the expense of everyone else.
I first met Daniel Norris on Twitter, after Google News Alert led me to read a story in the Toronto Observer in which Daniel, then a top Blue Jays pitching prospect, cited Patagonia as a major inspiration. I was confused: baseball is not exactly our typical focus as a company. Yet after learning more about him, it became clear to me that Daniel shares a like mind with Yvon’s philosophies around simple living, great storytelling and a serious commitment to the environment.
The Keystone XL pipeline would have connected the tar sands oil fields in Canada to a massive refinery and port complex near Houston, Texas. But people across North America on both sides of the border said “No” to shipping tar sands oil.
Above: Demonstrators in front of the White House protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2011. Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Phantasmal footsteps, strange silhouettes, inexplicable movements and unaccountable sounds. In our sixth annual Tales of Terror, Bix Firer, Lorraine Campbell and Kealan Sojack share three stories of ‘What the *&@! was that’? A dream? Or an indication that, perhaps, we are not as alone in the woods as we like to think. Happy Halloween.
For 24 years, residents of the Kootenays in British Columbia, Canada, have been largely opposed to a proposed year-round ski resort in the heart of the Central Purcell Mountains—a region that encompasses both cherished alpine backcountry and critical core grizzly bear habitat. At the time this story was going to print, the provincial government had just dealt would-be developers a significant blow by deeming the ski resort project not “substantially started”—a finding that would require developers to return to square one to reapply for an environmental assessment certificate in order to continue with their plan. As the developers contemplate their next move, local skiers, snowboarders, climbers, wildlife conservationists and First Nations peoples staunchly hold their line, hopeful that with this ruling, the quarter-century-long battle may be nearing an end. But whether the developers redouble their efforts or their opponents celebrate victory—what a long, strange trip it’s been.
Above: Jumbo Valley. Central Purcell Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Photo: Garrett Grove
Winter in Iceland is ridiculously unpredictable. It can be beaten by wind and swell one minute and infused with silence and solitude the next. Drawn by the appeal of its wilderness, my partner and I dreamed of traveling there for a long time. Combining both of our passions for surfing and exploring, we decided to go self-supported, on skis, to the snowy valleys of the north in search of a unique experience.
Jasmin Caton and Leah Evans both live and work in southeastern British Columbia: Caton as a ski guide and co-owner of Valhalla Mountain Touring; Evans as founder and director of the freeski program Girls Do Ski in Revelstoke. Caton has been skiing the backcountry since she was a child, while Evans comes from a hard-charging, competitive freeskiing environment. We spoke with them just after they’d completed an eight-day ski traverse through a section of the Jumbo Glacier backcountry, to see for themselves the site of the proposed and hotly contested Jumbo Glacier Resort featured in Jumbo Wild the new film by Sweetgrass Productions. Above: Leah and Jasmin strap in and buckle up for the bootpack. Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Photo: Garrett Grove
You’d never skied together before this trip. How’d the dynamic work?
Jasmin: A trip like this with new people can leave you with a feeling of, “Hmmm,” but this was definitely a “YES.” Hanging out with Leah has inspired me to try some more exciting stuff. Our skills are really complementary, and we can offer each other a lot.
Leah: For sure. I watched everything Jasmin did because she has such depth of experience out there. I’d see her do something with her pack or something, and I’d say, “Um, I’m going to do that with my pack, too.” I want to learn as much as I can from her.
On Saturday October 3, 2015, over 300 people—fishermen, Native Americans, farmers, orca lovers, business owners, students, salmon advocates, kayakers, and conservationists—took to the lower Snake River in southeastern Washington, a short distance from the Lower Granite Dam. Together, this diverse group formed the “Free the Snake Flotilla.” They were a representative slice of the movement that includes many thousands of people worldwide who are calling for the removal of four deadbeat dams on the lower Snake. Over 130,000 people have signed petitions and sent postcards and letters asking President Obama, his administration, members of Congress and key state and federal agencies to take these harmful dams out.
As they gathered in kayaks and other water craft, this group of unlikely activists all agreed that the current situation on the Snake is unacceptable, and growing worse by the year: Thousands of endangered salmon died this summer due to over-heated river and reservoir water; endangered orcas are malnourished because their favorite food supply of Snake River Chinook salmon has been decimated by the dams; and, over $9 billion in government spending over the past 30 years, mostly on hatcheries and other failed approaches, hasn’t recovered any endangered wild fish runs.
Above: Free The Snake Flotilla. Production Company: Moonhouse. Director: Ben Moon. Cinematography & Edit: Page Stephenson. Aerials: Whitney Hassett. Music: “Explosions in the Eye” by Peter M. Murray.