The Cleanest Line

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    Who's That Sitting Next to You?

    Morlee_surveys_the_arean_2 Ray King, the manager of our Santa Cruz outlet store, sent us his take on the 2007 Surf Kayak Festival held at Steamer Lane, where Patagonia's director of direct marketing, Morlee Griswold, took first place in the women's international division.

    Generally speaking, if it’s foggy in the morning the sun will burn through by the afternoon. That is the case for our little section of the California coast, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is also a spot for another predictable occurrence, the Annual Kayak Surfing Championships. This year, the 21st for this contest, was phenomenal with the weather and waves coming together for a perfect turnout.

    It’s funny to be a stand-up surfer my whole life, as I know it, and to see a spot become invaded by kayakers. What’s even funnier is watching all the hardened locals, bitter at first, become interested, impressed, and even speaking of trying it out. This is Steamer Lane I am speaking of and these locals will never admit to their fellow stand-up surfers that they are interested in “butt sliding,” but I witnessed more than a few who were so impressed they probably took off that day to go buy a kayak. But enough of that, let's talk about the true warriors of the weekend.

    Continue reading "Who's That Sitting Next to You?" »

    My Carpool

    Img_3417_4 The days are gone when I would cruise solo to work, blasting the music, surfboard on the roof, checking all the breaks along the way. Now with two small children in tow, I carpool down the 101 with another mom to the Patagonia headquarters in Ventura. We travel together as families, bringing our kids to the childcare center onsite that Malinda started over twenty years ago to keep moms and breastfeeding infants together. Yvon jokes sometimes that the best products we turn out of Patagonia are our children.

    In the mornings, my van is an action packed vehicle with four small children five and under. We still check the breaks but now it’s dolphins and pelicans we look for instead of surfers. Along the way we have conversations about “where do clouds come from”, “how far is it to the sun” and “why do we carpool”.  We answer “We carpool because it’s fun, it saves gas, and it’s good for the environment.”

    I recently read that polar bears will probably be extinct in the next fifty years. I have yet to see a polar bear in the wild but I still maintain hope. Will my children have that same opportunity as adults? This thought and others chill my heart. What kind of world have I brought my children into? Most days, I try to stay positive and be mindful of my actions and their impact on environment. As I park under the solar panels in our parking lot, I am grateful for where I am and the opportunity I have to create change. Seeing my colleagues and friends heading out for a lunchtime surf or run sometimes makes me wistful for my old single life. Inside the childcare center, I smile as I hear a caregiver announce to no one in particular “I am stepping out to recycle because it’s good for the earth.” I remind myself to be patient; the ocean and trails will still be there. Right now I’m busy raising the next generation to tread more lightly on the earth.

    [Three little bears along for the ride. Photo:mama bear]

    Journey to a Prehistoric Reef

    Coral_reef There are few pristine places left in the ocean, and our understanding of what is natural has shifted dramatically over time. But in the Line Islands there is an atoll where the corals are healthy and sharks are king. Last month, in support of our Oceans as Wilderness campaign, marine ecologist Dr. Enric Sala visited the  Patagonia campus in Ventura and gave a fascinating talk about how we need to reeducate ourselves on what constitutes a healthy marine ecosystem so we can truly gauge the impact humans are having on the ocean. Patagonia Westport store manager Nate Paulson, who's here working with the Environmental Department, recounts the presentation for us.

    “What is Natural?” asked Dr. Enric Sala as he launched into a presentation about his 2005 expedition to the Northern Line Islands in the Pacific.

    His findings and suggestions were remarkable: not only have perceptions about underwater wildness shifted away from that which is truly wild, but also the dive industry and some members of the scientific community actively promote and support a degraded view of the natural state. In other words, the baseline for what we perceive as pristine and wild has shifted.

    Dr. Sala’s team made four stops, traveling south to north along the island and atoll chain beginning at an island with 10,000 people, then 2,500, then 10, and ending at one with zero people. The expedition was designed to begin in a place with an expected great deal of human degradation to the ecosystem, and progress through ecosystems with less and less human impact before reaching the nearly untouched final destination.

    Continue reading "Journey to a Prehistoric Reef" »

    Where Our Wool Comes From

    The following report is brought to us by Ken Larussa, from our Reno Distribution Center, home of Patagonia's Customer Service.  If you're a long-time customer, chances are good you've spoken to Ken at least once.  After hearing about Ken's trip and seeing his pictures, we're lucky he came back.

    Wool. We all know it comes from sheep and we all know that New Zealand is famous forDingleburn2 sheep. Since I was going to New Zealand anyway, I asked Tetsuya—who works in Fabric Development—if there was any way he could arrange a visit to Dingleburn Station, the place where the Merino wool we use for our new base-layer line comes from. A few emails back and forth and next thing I knew my brother, my girlfriend, and I were wandering around the Wanaka airport searching for someone with a small plane who looked like a sheep farmer.

    It didn't take long for Guy Mead, who does in fact look exactly like a sheep farmer, to walk up and ask if I was from Patagonia. Probably wasn't too difficult since I was decked out head-to-toe in our stuff.

    Airdingleburn Guy's 4-seater was a bit smaller than the Boeing 777 Kirsten and I flew in on, so it was with just a bit of trepidation that we hopped in for the short flight out to his “station”—what New Zealanders and Australians call large scale ranches. We buckled in and off we went.

    [Photos: Top - Some of the grazing lands surrounding Dingleburn Station
    Bottom - Guy Mead pilots the commute out to the Station.  Thanks to Ken and Kirsten Mashinter for all the great photos.]

    Continue reading "Where Our Wool Comes From" »

    Taking Inventory

    Reno_closed2 A quick note from our coworkers in Reno:

    The distribution center will be closed April 24 - May 1 for inventory. No orders will be shipped during that time. We apologize for the inconvenience. Patagonia Retail Stores are open and ready to help during this time -- most can ship to your location.

    If you don't live near a Patagonia Retail Store but really need something during this brief outage, please call customer service and they'll do their best to help you out: 1-800-638-6464.

    Anyone who's worked retail before can relate to the tedious task of taking inventory. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

    [With thanks to the entire distribution center staff for all their hard work.]

    California No Drive Day This Sunday

    Ca_no_drive_day Nora Gallagher, our Environmental Editor, just sent word about a simple day of action we can all participate in this Sunday, not just Californians. The embedded video will also appear on Current TV.

    A few months ago, I was talking to my friend Judy in Carpinteria, CA about how bad global warming really is. Why didn't someone do something about it? And the next thing I knew, Judy and her daughter Grace and a few other people had put together California No Drive Day.

    "California No Drive Day on April 29, 2007. Give yourself and the planet a breather -- be incredibly creative in how you get somewhere that day or be incredibly lazy and go nowhere." 

    Please, if you live in California, don't drive on April 29, 2007.
    That's a Sunday. Take a rest.

    Nora Gallagher
    Patagonia Environmental Editor

    Every Day is Earth Day

    Bluemarble_apollo17 Thank you for all you do on behalf of our beautiful home. Smell the flowers, hug a tree, thank a bee and enjoy this special Earth Day episode of the Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot.

    Listen to "Songs and tunes for the Earth, about the Earth and for earthlings"

    [Photo: Apollo 17 Crew & NASA. With thanks to Dondo and Astronomy Picture of the Day.]

    Get Some Ed in Yer Head

    Need a soundtrack for your Earth Day celebrations?  Abbeyvision Thought so.

    Grassroots radio maestro extraordinaire Don Darue has been "servin' 'em up covered and smothered" for purt-near 20 years on the homegrown radio show The Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot. One of Dondo's specialties is the Annual Edward Abbey Memorial Tribute Edition of the show.

    Big_biscuit_card_2 Wanna get some Ed in your head? Then sidle on up to the Hoot Hut and have a listen to this year's Ed Abbey show, where you'll find tasty instrumentals, a little blues, a little folk, a little outlaw country, and a generous helping of Mr. Abbey reading straight from classics such as "In Defense of the Redneck" and Desert Solitaire.  Download the show from, or by clicking here: 3-24-07.mp3

    Where Is He Wearing?

    Bibimenewyear Another great contribution from a former employee of one of our many Independent Patagonia Dealers.

    The Cleanest Line Crew,

    Patagonia is about getting to the source. The source of where materials come from. The outdoors, the source of the passion and commitment by the enthusiasts that Patagonia's products are designed by and for.

    I worked at Townsend, Bertram, and Company in Carrboro, North Carolina, for two years.  Patagonia's dedication to their products and customers made it the best brand in the store to sell.  I was able to tell the customers that every Patagonia product had been relentlessly tested and guaranteed to perform. 

    When Walt our rep would visit, he would discuss the source of the cotton, down, and other materials.  How there were places where the production of these materials were done with the environment and the laborer in mind.  And there were places that weren't. 

    Walt got me thinking:  Where am I wearing?

    Continue reading "Where Is He Wearing?" »

    Next Generation Patagoniac

    Nextgen So much of what we do stems from the desire to improve the world for the next generation. And here at Pat. HQ we're constantly reminded of that responsibility by the kids we see playing at our onsite daycare center. Patagonia customer Chris Stelter makes us optimistic for the future with this heart-warming contribution. Chris works for Shure audio in Chicago, where he lives with his wife Wendy and son Jack.

    Reading Matt O'Conner's post from April 6, 2007 (Greenie & The Man Truck) made me think about my oldest piece of Patagonia clothing. I think it would have to be a snap Synchilla fleece (the one made from pop bottles - I'm from the Midwest so it's "pop, not "soda"). It still hangs in my closet and is put into action whenever I have a project around the house that requires some warmth (quite often here in Chicago). It's seen and done a lot since it was given to me in 1993 as a college graduation present. Since then, I've owned a great deal of the Patagonia catalog. The pieces have served me well fly-fishing, mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, steelhead fishing, and most recently, raising my son (the most rewarding of all of them!). 

    I've always been proud to wear clothing from a company that strives for minimal impact (environmentally) as possible. With the birth of our son 18 months ago, the realization that he will inherit this planet in the condition I leave it really hits home. With a "sportsman's" respect for the outdoors I learned from my father and the knowledge passed on along by Yvon, Melinda, and the rest of the Patagonia crew in the pages of the catalogs, books, and websites, I'm well armed to guide my son's Love for the big spinning sphere he's now riding on.

    The attached photo is of my son and his first piece of Patagonia clothing. I can't say it's his first Patagonia item, that's reserved for the Capilene blanket we brought him home from the hospital in. He still sleeps with it.

    Thanks for such a cool blog (oh, and clothes!)

    ~Chris Stelter

    [Jack, ready to face the world in his Retro Vest. Photo: Chris Stelter]

    One Percent for the Planet
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