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    The Time is Now – Protect Bears Ears [Updated]

    By Kitty Calhoun

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    In southeastern Utah, a battle has been brewing between conservationists, recreationalists and resource extractionists. The pressure on all sides has increased as the stakes grow higher. At risk is the preservation of climbing in Indian Creek, Castle Valley, Fisher Towers, San Rafael Swell, Valley of the Gods, Texas and Arch Canyons, Lockhart Basin, Comb Ridge, and other remote areas collectively known as the Bears Ears region. Not only is climbing at risk but also other recreational resources, the fragile desert environment and priceless Native American heritage.

    Above: Valley of the Gods, Cedar Mesa, Utah. Photo: Andrew Burr

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    Do What You Love to Protect What You Love: Mile for Mile Campaign Surpasses Fundraising Goal

    By Kris Tompkins

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    “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”
    – Edward Abbey

    Scale is a hard thing to get a handle on. We pour over maps to try to understand a landscape. Better yet, sometimes we get to fly over it, circling the valleys and mountains to get a real lay of the land. But sometimes, there’s no substitute for crossing it on foot—learning a place step-by-step, sinking into the real magnitude of wilderness.

    I fell in love with Patagonia by foot. I can remember my first walk through the grasslands of southern Chile—dropped off near the outskirts of a small town, I had just the clothes on my back, a pack on my shoulders and the wind on my face. It only took a matter of days for me to fall in love with the region’s looming peaks and curious creatures. Over twenty years later, using personal funds and the help of many friends and supporters, my husband Doug and I have managed to conserve nearly 2 million acres of threatened wilderness in South America. In 2004, we had the opportunity of a lifetime to acquire one of the largest grassland restoration projects in the world: the future Patagonia National Park.

    Above: Ultrarunners Jeff Browning, Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson join Conservacion Patagonica founder Kris Tompkins on the Avilés Trail. Patagonia Park, Chile. Photo: James Q Martin

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    Floating Through Nowhere

    By Jim Little

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    Most people have never heard of the Owyhee Canyonlands, let alone pulled over to visit. On a map of Oregon, it’s that mostly blank expanse in the southeastern corner of the state near the Idaho/Nevada border—a place most would call nowhere.

    Rome, Burns and Jordan Valley are the nearest towns of any note. The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge—site of a recent 41-day showdown between a group of armed, anti-federalist “occupiers” and the federal government—is the most recognizable nearby landmark for those who follow the news.

    Above: The Owyhee River flows 346 miles from northeastern Nevada before dumping into the Snake River on the Oregon/Idaho border. Photo: Jim Little

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    Paddle Power: The Rise of Kayaktivism

    By Cameron Fenton

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    The house I grew up in was full of art from the Canadian Arctic. From soapstone carvings to caribou tufting and Ted Harrison paintings, my parents had brought it with them when they moved south from their home in Yellowknife on the northern shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. But among all of this, it was a small model of a skin-on-frame kayak that captured my imagination.

    Qajaq, the Inuktitut root word for what we now spell kayak translates roughly to “hunter’s craft.” For thousands of years, these boats have been tools used by Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic as tools to pursue whales, seals and other prey across the frigid waters and coastlines of the Arctic. Long, fast and silent, kayaks today are primarily used as pleasure craft, but ever since a massive wave of water-borne protests took place last spring in the Pacific, they are fast becoming a symbol of a new kind of people power in the fight to stop runaway climate change.

    Above: Kayaktivists attempt to blockade coal exports from the Newcastle Coal Port on Australia’s eastern coast. Photo: 350.org

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    Creating Climate-Beneficial Fiber Systems

    By Rebecca Burgess

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    How can we solve the climate crisis? The answer may exist beneath our feet, in the soil. Carbon is a finite resource that moves through soils, oceans, food, fibers and the atmosphere—and ancient carbon is fossilized in Earth’s core. There is no more carbon entering or leaving Earth—we are simply seeing the effects of having too much of it in the wrong place. But if we look to the carbon cycle itself, its movement pattern illuminates significant possibilities for transforming a crisis into a massive opportunity.

    How? By restoring carbon to our global soils. Soil is the second largest source of carbon on the planet and we have lost 50–70 percent of the original carbon, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age we have brought 136 gigatons of carbon (one gigaton is equal to one billion tons) out of the soil.

    Above: Rebecca Burgess helps fold a handmade American flag woven from industrial hemp and organic cotton, and colored with natural dyes. Rebecca will be teaching a Natural Dye Workshop at Patagonia San Francisco on May 4, 2016. Stay tuned for the story behind this special flag coming later in the month. Photo: Donnie Hedden 

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    Stop the Dams in Portugal

    By Tony Butt

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    Take action and help spread the word about the TUA valley

    Take_action_largeThe Foz Tua dam is being built just metres away from the Alto Douro Wine Region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portuguese environmental groups, together with canoeing and rafting clubs and wine producers are urging as many people as possible to sign a letter pressuring UNESCO to take action and stop the dam. Take action at The Last Days of Tua then share the link with your networks using #savetua. Photo: Platform Save the Tua 

     

    How I became involved

    One of the most powerful scenes in Damnation is where a way of life going back over 15,000 years is suddenly brought to an end due to the construction of a dam. When the Dalles dam was built on the Columbia River it submerged Celilo Falls and took the salmon with it, forever changing the lives of the local people. Now, six decades later, it has been called an act of cultural genocide.

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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: Trespassers

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    “You have to imagine that you’re on the frozen Arctic Ocean. You’re six miles from shore, you can’t really tell where the ocean stops and the white shore begins. All you see is white–and this thing where they’re dumping crap into the ocean to make this island,” says Dan Ritzman. “And, there, stuck in the ice, is a sign that says ‘No Trespassing’.”

    It was 1999, the beginning of the climate movement. Oil companies had started to talk about green energy, but continued their dogged search for fossil fuel. At the time, Dan worked for Greenpeace, who was determined to expose that hypocrisy by any means necessary.

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    “Real Life” Science

    By Dylan Tomine

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    Both of my kids love their science classes in school, and Skyla often mentions wanting to be a marine biologist when she grows up. So when the field biologists from the Wild Fish Conservancy invited us to participate in some beach-seine sampling, as part of their project to assess juvenile salmon habitat around Puget Sound, we jumped at the opportunity.

    These guys were incredibly friendly and patient with the kids, happy to explain each process as they captured individual fish, measured and recorded them without harm, then placed them into another bucket for release once the netting was done. A great lesson in how science works in the field and the importance of consistent methodology.

    Above: Frank Staller, field technician for the Wild Fish Conservancy, explains the sampling process to Skyla and Weston. Puget Sound, Washington. Photo: Dylan Tomine  

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    Why Minnesota Can’t Afford Mining Near the Boundary Waters

    By Adam Fetcher

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    Patagonia has supported the work of Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness and the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters through grant funding, our employee environmental internship program, retail store events, product donations and an invitation to attend the 2015 Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference. You can read our past coverage on The Cleanest Line here and here. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit savetheboundarywaters.org.

    Growing up in Minnesota, I took the lakes for granted. To me, living in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” meant summers at the cabin—waterskiing, fishing and family time on the dock. The lakes I knew were surrounded by houses and roads, and I remember falling asleep most nights to the gentle but persistent hum of motorboats wafting across the glassy water. (Almost as persistent as the hungry mosquitos buzzing around my ears at bedtime.) Even through the noise, I slept peacefully in the cool Northern Minnesota breeze.

    Above: Paddling toward shore, ready for a swim in the late afternoon. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota. Photo: Adam Fetcher

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    Save the Blue Heart of Europe: The Balkan Rivers story

    By Ulrich Eichelmann

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    The Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe is known for its Mediterranean beaches, past wars, corruption, ethnic conflicts and, to insiders, Slivovitz and ćevapi—the plum schnapps and traditional minced-meat dish of the region. Stories about the area are plentiful, but I want to tell you a different story—a story about beauty, diversity and uniqueness, and an imminent threat in disguise.

    It is a story about the rivers between Slovenia and Albania, which are the most intact on the entire continent. Wild rivers with extensive gravel banks, spectacular waterfalls, deep canyons, crystal clear streams full of fish, large alluvial forests where rare eagles nest, even karstic underground rivers. But, most amazingly, almost nobody knows about them. They’re a hidden treasure in the middle of 21st century Europe.

    Above: Vjosa River, Albania. Photo:Roland Dorozhani  

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