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    Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015


    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

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    Save Money, Save Salmon, Save Mike: Free the Snake

    By Steve Hawley


    Meet Mike. He’s 21 years old, 20 feet long, weighs about 10,000 pounds. He speaks a language that was taught to him by his elders: a series of squeaks, clicks and squeals that allow him to coordinate hunting strategies with his clan. His species is the apex predator in the eastern Pacific. He also babysits.

    Mike is often seen protectively swimming alongside his younger siblings, part of a group of 80 orcas known as the Southern Residents that spend their summers fishing in the vicinity of Puget Sound. But over the past decade the babysitting gigs have been too few and far between. Not enough young orcas are making it through pregnancy, birth and into adolescence. Toxicity is a problem, as it is for all the world’s large marine mammals. But lack of food—Chinook salmon—is a death sentence. Acknowledging as much, NOAA put Mike and the rest of the Southern Residents on the Endangered Species list in 2005.

    Above: J26 Mike surfaces in Haro Strait, a key foraging area for the Southern Residents. Photo: Monika Wieland/Orca Watcher Photography

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    Wild Fish Don’t Ride in Trucks

    By Yvon Chouinard and Matt Stoecker


    This op-ed was originally published in the Sacramento Bee on July 23, 2015.

    On May 7, the Yuba Salmon Partnership Initiative (YSPI) shared a plan that would create the first “trap and haul” program of its kind in California. Trap and haul involves capturing fish, putting them in trucks, and moving them up or down rivers around obstacles such as dams.

    The initiative is proposing a 50-year, $700 million project that involves moving spring-run chinook salmon around two dams, Englebright and New Bullards Bar Dam, into the North Fork of the Yuba River.

    We all want to see the Yuba River and its salmon thrive. But an expensive project like this one, which doesn’t achieve real recovery of wild and self-sustaining fisheries or watershed function in the Yuba River, would be a huge mistake.

    Above: Yvon Chouinard looks out over Englebright Dam back in 2011, Yuba River, California. Photo: Matt Stoecker

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    Free the Snake: Restoring America’s Greatest Salmon River

    We released a new short film this week called Free the Snake. The film, from the producers of DamNation, looks at the effects of four deadbeat dams on Washington’s lower Snake River. For years, Snake River salmon have been trucked, shipped and sent up ladders—all costly and failed bids to stop their decline. We believe it’s time to remove the dams and reconnect wild fish to their watershed.

    As part of the film’s launch, we’re continuing to encourage those who support healthy rivers to get involved in this campaign by signing our petition urging President Obama to remove the four lower Snake River dams. You may remember that earlier this year, the DamNation filmmakers and a team from Patagonia delivered the first 70,000 signatures to the White House, while placing ads in Washington State media pushing for dam removal.

    Take_action_largeGET INVOLVED

    Join us in asking President Obama to remove four deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. Then, help us spread the word by sharing this link with your networks.

    Take Action: Sign the petition


    DamNation – Help stop Ishiki Dam in Japan

    By Takayuki Tsujii, Patagonia Japan


    All technology has merits and harmful effects. The same applies to dams that came into existence over 50 years ago. But the detrimental impact brought upon by dams has become increasingly conspicuous in recent years. Because of this, discussions have started to take place in the U.S. regarding the necessity of dams—from economical, environmental and cultural perspectives—with some of these discussions resulting in the actual removal of unnecessary dams. Such stories and movements can be seen in the movie DamNation.

    There are currently 2,800 dams in Japan. Structures over 15 meters tall are considered dams in Japan. If we include smaller structures, it is said there are close to 100,000 dams. It is a fact that dams played many significant roles in the economic growth and national prosperity of this country after World War II. However, once we entered the 21st century, the downside of dams became much more obvious – they choke our river ecosystems, destroy fish and wildlife habitats and degrade water quality, while often providing limited benefit as these concrete structures get older and, quite simply, outlast their value. Unfortunately, the administration in Japan has never conducted an objective, scientific evaluation on the necessity of existing dams.

    Despite this lack of research, there are over 80 dams being planned right now. Among those, the Ishiki Dam being planned for construction in Nagasaki prefecture’s Kawatana-cho poses serious environmental, economic and human rights concerns. These are issues that we Japanese must take a hard look at.

    Above: “Koubaru”, the area slated to be submerged by the construction of Ishiki Dam. The Ishiki River running alongside the road is too small and narrow to be visible. Photo: Yoshiaki Murayama

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    DamNation Petition Delivery to the White House – Washington state residents please take action

    On Wednesday, January 28, a small team representing activists, moviegoers, customers and the entire Patagonia family delivered a petition containing more than 70,000 signatures—the online petition and postcards combined—to President Obama and his top environmental advisers. Created in conjunction with the release of DamNation, the petition brought together activist voices from all 50 United States and 60 countries around the world asking President Obama to crack down on deadbeat dams—starting by finding a path to remove four harmful dams on one of the nation’s most important salmon rivers, the lower Snake, and begin the biggest watershed restoration project in history.

    Above: DamNation Petition Delivery to the White House. Video: Patagonia

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    National Geographic Announces 2015 Adventurers of the Year

    Yesterday, National Geographic pulled the curtain back on the winners of their 10th annual Adventurers of the Year, “each selected for his or her remarkable achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, and humanitarianism.” Four of the winners are from the Patagonia family and we couldn't be happier for them.

    Tommy Caldwell for completing the Fitz Roy Travese with partner Alex Honnold--seven summits that define the Fitz Roy massif (and the Patagonia logo). Read the interview. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

    Ben Knight, Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker for the creation of their film, DamNation. Read the interview. Photo: DamNation Film

    Liz Clark for 10 years of solo sailing in search of surf, simplicity and self-reliance. Read the inteview. Photo: Jeff Johnson

    Gavin McClurg and Will Gadd for traversing 500 miles of remote Rockies terrain via paragliders. Read the interview. Photo: Jody MacDonald

    Along with the individual awards, voting has begun for the People's Choice. We encourage you to cast your vote (deadline is January 31, 2015), but with so many amazing people in the running we're not sure how you're going to choose.

    Congratulations to all of the winners, especially the folks we're honored to work alongside.

    Elwha River Uplift

    Words and photos by Dylan Tomine


    The kids and I decided to squeeze in one last, close-to-home, weekday excursion before school started, so we headed over to the newly dam-free Elwha River for a little float. The last piece of the upper dam was removed last week, so it seemed like a good time to go see what had changed since I was there earlier this summer. And I wanted the kids to experience a river being reborn. That’s Weston and Skyla starting out, courtesy of our friends at Olympic Raft & Kayak.

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    A River Reborn – Floating the Elwha River after dam removal

    By Dylan Tomine


    It’s difficult to put into words exactly how it feels to experience the newly free Elwha River. Gratitude, for sure, for all the people and organizations who put so much into bringing the dams down. And awe, as nature takes over and the river finds it’s new-old path to the sea. And fun, of course, to be there taking it all in with my good friend and DamNation producer/underwater photographer, Matt Stoecker.

    We floated the Elwha under crazy blue skies and warm air, with the winners of the Patagonia/DamNation photo contest and our gracious hosts from Olympic Raft & Kayak. All around amazing experience. Despite what the dam-removal critics said, the sediment load in the water has settled out quickly, leaving the water clear, with the slight milky, blue-green tint one expects of a glacial river in summertime.

    Above: A painted crack and message on Glines Canyon Dam foreshadowed its removal over two decades later. Elwha River, Olympic National Park, Washington in a scene from DamNation. Photo: Mikal Jakubal

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    DamNation to Screen in 23 Patagonia Stores Nationwide on June 5, Available Digitally at Vimeo On Demand on June 6


    Winner – SXSW Audience Choice Award
    Winner – Documentary Award for Environmental Advocacy, DC Environmental Film Festival
    Winner – Mountainfilm Audience Choice Award
    Winner – Best of Festival, 5Point Film Festival

    On Thursday, June 5, Patagonia will present the award-winning, feature length documentary DamNation, in 23 cities nationwide. Free screenings will be hosted at Patagonia Retail Stores and are open to the public. For a full list of nationwide, festival and community screenings, please visit
    The following day, June 6, DamNation will be available at Vimeo On Demand for digital viewing. DamNation will be available to rent ($5.99) or buy ($9.99) for viewing on almost any device. As part of our unique collaboration with Vimeo, we curated a number of ecologically minded titles, including DamNation, in the Patagonia Collection on Vimeo On Demand.

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