The Cleanest Line

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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

     

    Statement in Support of SB-788 – A bill to prevent future offshore drilling in Santa Barbara County

    By Hans Cole, Director of Environmental Campaigns and Advocacy

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    The following remarks (shortened slightly due to time constraints) were delivered on Monday, June 29, 2015, in the California State Legislature.
     

    To the members of the California State Legislature present today, thank you for your attention to the health and safety of our coastline and ocean. I’m here in support of Senate Bill-788 the California Coastal Protection Act of 2015—and I’d particularly like to thank Senators McGuire and Jackson for introducing this important legislation.

    I work as the Director of Environmental Campaigns and Advocacy for Patagonia. We are a California company—founded in Ventura and based there since 1973. While our brand has global reach, the heart of our business and close to 500 headquarters employees remain just a short walk from the beach in Ventura. We have six Patagonia-owned stores in California, from San Diego to San Francisco. None of our facilities are more than a few miles from the coast and most just a few blocks away.

    Above: Frame grab of Hans speaking to the California State Legislature. You can watch his entire speech at the end of this post. Video: The California Channel

    Continue reading "Statement in Support of SB-788 – A bill to prevent future offshore drilling in Santa Barbara County" »

    Lago to Lago – Connecting the two great lakes in Patagonia Park

    By Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia VP of Public Engagement

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    The official grand opening of the new Patagonia National Park in southern Chile is scheduled for late November but the park, even now, is attracting thousands of visitors including three of our trail running ambassadors who, in January, ran parts of the 100-plus miles of trails already constructed. Patagonia-the-company funded part of that construction but the new park, projected to be nearly 650,000 acres, has entire watersheds currently outside of the existing trail system.  

    Editor’s note: As we continue to expand on The New Localism, it’s important to revisit previous campaigns and breathe new life into them. Today, Rick Ridgeway reconnects with Mile for Mile which is more than halfway to its funding goal. Remember, Patagonia, Inc. will match your Mile for Mile donations through 2015.

    In March, I joined two friends, Jib Ellison and Weston Boyles, to scout a potential route that could provide a more-or-less direct link between the two great lakes that bookend the park: Lago General Carrerra on the north and Lago Cochrane on the south. These two lakes are so stupendous that when people first see them they appear mythical, like scenes from a Maxwell Parrish painting.

    Above: Finding a route above the Aviles Norte on day two. The team had Google Earth maps and an iPhone app that recorded positions that Patagonia National Park will use if they create a permanent trail along the route. Photo: Weston Boyles

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    Mundaka: Surf but don’t touch

    By Tony Butt

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    When the first surfers turned up at Mundaka around the late 1960s and set their eyes upon those perfect lefthanders, they had no reason to think the waves wouldn’t be there forever. Almost half a century later, we now know that Mundaka is a very special wave, perhaps unique in the world; not just because of its perfection, power or length, but because of the miraculous circumstances that made it the way it is. Sure, there are waves just as long and hollow as Mundaka, but the vast majority break on immovable rock or coral platforms. Mundaka, on the other hand, relies on a rivermouth sandbar.

    In the early days, the overriding concern was how the surfers themselves could make the best of the wave. How could they improve board design and riding techniques to get in and out of those freight-train barrels as easily as possible? They had no idea that the principal concern would eventually turn from dominating the wave to protecting it.

    This article isn’t just about Mundaka, although Mundaka is the central theme running through it. It is also about estuarine systems, chaos, Nature and us.

    Above: The Mundaka sandbar behaving itself, winter 2014-15. Spain. Photo: Javi Muñoz

    Continue reading "Mundaka: Surf but don’t touch" »

    DamNation – Help stop Ishiki Dam in Japan

    By Takayuki Tsujii, Patagonia Japan

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    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

    Continue reading "DamNation – Help stop Ishiki Dam in Japan" »

    Oregon Rain

    By Kate Taylor

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    I stand at my kitchen sink, looking out the window as I fill a glass of water. I live in Rockaway Beach a coastal community of 2,500 people, renowned for all that is epic about the Oregon coast: stunning beaches, lush forests and rich ocean and inland waters.

    I take a sip from the glass. Outside, targeting a nearby clear-cut hillside, a helicopter sprays a sheet of herbicide. I spectate as the chemicals float to dirt, supposedly doing their job—killing weeds that might choke out saplings. Those weeds line Jetty Creek, the source of my small community’s drinking water. Yes, you read correctly: logging companies spray chemicals over my community’s drinking water. And under the protection of the archaic Oregon Forest Practices Act, they’re permitted to do so.

    Continue reading "Oregon Rain" »

    How to Prevent Oil Spills

    By Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia VP of Public Engagement

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    When the oil hit our pristine Santa Barbara beaches in 1969, I remember feeling shocked. We walked the beaches in a kind of haze, scraping up tar without HAZMAT suits or even gloves. The devastation was enormous and we were heartbroken.

    Forty-five years later, Californians have made progress in protecting our coastline from further degradation at the hands of oil and gas extraction. The 1969 spill sparked the modern environmental movement, spurring major pieces of environmental legislation in the early 1970s and resulting in a lot of good work on this coast by local activists to fight off ecological threats.

    Above: Trained workers clean up oil-stained debris from the beach after a recent spill in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo: Linda Krop/Environmental Defense Center

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    If GMOs Are Safe, Why Not Label Them?

    By Rose Marcario, Patagonia, CEO

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    When Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, began writing about GMOs in the early 2000s, he started by asking a reasonable question: “What does a clothing company know about genetic engineering?”

    The answer, he said: “Not enough.” And neither does anyone else. In the proliferation of GMOs, Yvon saw a serious threat to wildness and biodiversity.

    More than 10 years later, the prevalence of GMOs in everyday food products has risen sharply—but basic consumer awareness remains low.

    An alarming bill before Congress aims to keep it that way. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 (H.R. 4432) will remove any requirements for manufacturers to label foods containing GMOs. Even the misleading name of the bill suggests an intention to leave us in the dark.

    Above: Patagonia Provisions Wild Sockeye Salmon comes only from abundant, sustainable runs—we never use farmed or genetically engineered salmon—and our Tsampa Soup uses only organic, non-GMO ingredients. Photo: Amy Kumler

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    The Fisherman’s Son – My vision for Punta de Lobos

    By Ramón Navarro

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    When I was growing up I wanted to help my dad, and be exactly like him: a fisherman. Then a couple of guys blew into town with surfboards and wetsuits and I said, "Wow, this is amazing," and then I wanted to learn to surf more than anything in the world.

    So I learned to surf and started to travel the world, but I figured out pretty fast that the best place to surf was right at home. We have big waves, small waves and the traditional fishing culture I love. Nothing could be better.

    While traveling, I saw many similar coasts around the world that had been polluted or were scarred forever by out-of-control developers. I saw places that were pristine before, but had already been ruined. I realized the coast that I loved so much was also under threat—from pulp mills, sewage pipelines, dams and senseless development.

    Above: Ramón and his dad, Alejandro, organize their gear. Photo: Jeff Johnson

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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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