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    Jumbo Unchanged

    By Alex Yoder

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    Feeling lost. Feeling far from help. Far from a store, motors and people. I am existing in a world much bigger than I can comprehend. What I can see is all that is. I’m alive to find what I can’t yet see. There are two times of day: light and dark. Food is fuel for the body, not a dance for the tongue. The cold bites. The sun scorns. This is a taste of what life was like before modern technology began introducing non-essentials and conveniences.

    All the while, it is 2015. I have gadgets that tell me where I am. I have a mobile phone that can bounce my voice off of a satellite in outer space and send for help if something were to go wrong. Still, there is a romance in my heart that writes off all of the comforts and emergency equipment. In my mind, I am free. In my heart, I’m just an animal lost in the wilderness.

    Above: Alex Yoder, Jumbo Pass area. British Columbia, Canada. Photo: Steve Ogle

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    Happy Holidays

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    Every year, we look back on the year that was—and every year, we’re deeply thankful for your support of our mission and your willingness to stand for nature in all its fullness and beauty. May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you and your loved ones, and here’s to a bright New Year ahead.

    Inner glow meets outer glow in the Alaska Range. Photo: Norio Matsumoto

    The Paris Project: COP21 concludes with historic climate treaty and a future full of questions

    By Ethan Stewart

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    This is the second installment from our man on the ground in Paris for the UN Conference on Climate Change, Santa Barbara Independent Editor-at-Large, Ethan Stewart. Catch up with part 1 if you missed it. Above: 350.org founder, Bill McKibben (glasses and Red Sox hat), joins an impromptu protest in Le Bourget towards the end of the two-week climate conference. Photo: Kodiak Greenwood


    Patagonia in Paris

    One of the loudest and most critical messages to come out of Paris during the COP21 was that the international business world is finally getting on board with the benefits of putting Mother Earth before profit margins. As evidenced by testimony provided during countless side panels and spin-off talks between CEOs and various insiders and watchdog groups during the two-week conference, private industry has awoken to the bottom-line benefits of having smaller carbon footprints, planet-pleasing corporate policies and a brand identity that is markedly pro-Earth. Simply put, it is no longer just a moral compass that guides a company to a more eco-savy way of doing business, it is just plain and simple sound financial policy.

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    To Those Who Loved Doug

    By Rick Ridgeway

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    In the days since our friend and mentor Doug Tompkins lost his life in a kayaking incident, we have experienced an outpouring of condolences from thousands of people around the world. The sense of loss from people who never knew Doug, but did know his work, is palpable.

    A few days ago, at the headquarters of Tompkins Conservation in the Chilean town of Puerto Varas, we had a service for Doug attended by people from up and down the country and Argentina. Kris, his wife, opened the ceremony and spoke in Spanish of her boundless love for Doug, their love of wildness and their deep commitment to the protection of wilderness and wildlife, and their work to save, then donate, two million acres of land to the people of Chile and Argentina—and to all of us. She spoke with dignity and power, with a force that welled from a place inside her. She gave everything to each sentence and paragraph. Drained, she paused, breathed, and with each breath the power would rebuild until she continued with an even more profound power that none of us had seen before.

    Above: Doug Tompkins, Rick Ridgeway, Yvon Chouinard on the summit of Cerro Kristine in 2008. Photo: Conservacion Patagonica Archives

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    I Heart The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Here’s Why You Should Too

    By Cindy Shogan

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    Full disclosure. As the executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, I’m slightly biased when it comes to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Alaska Wilderness League exists today with the mission to “lead the effort to preserve wild lands and waters in Alaska by engaging citizens and decision makers with a courageous, constant, victorious voice for Alaska,” but when the League was born more than 20 years ago, protecting the Arctic Refuge from the imminent threat of development was the number one priority. The Arctic Refuge is an unparalleled landscape, one of the most pristine and beautiful places on Earth, and one that can and should be mentioned in the same breath as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park in terms of iconic American destinations.

    Above: Reflection of the Brooks Range in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Photo: Hillebrand/USFWS

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    The Paris Project: Looking back at week one of the United Nationsʼ Conference on Climate Change

    By Ethan Stewart

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    For the past month, the entire world has been focused on Paris. First, an act of pure and peace shattering barbarism brought the City of Lights directly into focus in the hearts and minds of all of us just two weeks before Thanksgiving. And then, with the hurt still raw and hemorrhaging in worldwide waves of fear, arguably the biggest environmental gathering of this modern age descended upon the scene. 2015 is about to conclude as the warmest year on record here on Planet Earth, just a year after 2014 earned the same distinction. The planet, like it or not, is changing, and 194 countries from around the world have come together to try and do something about it.

    Above: Public assembly has been shut down during the conference due to security concerns, but the arts community has found creative ways provide a voice for the many. #HumanEnergy display by artist and researcher Yann Toma. Photo: Kodiak Greenwood

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    A Real Victory: President Obama Rejects the Keystone XL Pipeline

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    Today, President Obama did the right thing and put a final stop to the Keystone XL pipeline.

    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 

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    Keep Jumbo Wild: The Fight to Protect Jumbo Glacier

    By Mike Berard

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    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

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    Walking the Ground – Two ‘Jumbo Wild’ skiers talk wild places, community and activism

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    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 ProductionsAbove: 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.

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    Free the Snake Flotilla Action!

    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.

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