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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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    Bike to Work Week 2016: Remembrance of Rides Past

    By Gavin Back

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    With another National Bike to Work Week upon us, we have once again worked on events to celebrate pedal-powered commuting at the Patagonia D.C. in Reno, Nevada. Every year we reward dedicated bikers and try to inspire more people to begin burning calories instead of fossil fuels. This year we are even more excited than usual because we now have on-site child care. While the children are, for the moment, too young to actively participate in Bike to Work Week, we look forward to including them in future years. In the meantime, we are stoked to be contributing to an environment that makes cycling the norm rather than the pastime of a few MAMILs (Middle-Aged Men in Lycra).

    Above: A group of Patagonia Reno employees ride into work on a beautiful bike path. Photo: Tyler Keck

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    The View from Europe: Say No to TTIP

    By Ryan Gellert, Patagonia EMEA

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    This past week Greenpeace leaked 248 pages of negotiating texts and internal position papers that reveal a deep rift among the 28 European governments, the European Union and the U.S., involved in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    The Greenpeace report has caused an uproar here in Europe, including an announcement of opposition by the French government to the pact as it stands. Negotiations, which have already stretched out over three years, now appear to be in jeopardy.

    Everyone for and against the pact acknowledges that TTIP has little to do with removing trade barriers, which have long fallen. The focus instead is on harmonizing environmental, health and animal welfare standards, which are generally stronger in the E.U. than in the United States.

    Above: Organic cotton field in Texas. Since 1996, Patagonia has used only organic cotton, which uses nature-based solutions to manage pests and build healthy soil, instead of the synthetic pesticides, herbicides, defoliants, fertilizers and GMO seeds used to grow conventional cotton. Photo: Tim Davis

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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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    Chaltén 2015-2016

    By Colin Haley

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    My previous Patagonia climbing season, climbing last year mostly with Marc-André Leclerc and Alex Honnold, had been my most successful yet. Among a bunch of other activity was the first ascent of the Travesía del Oso Buda, the first repeat and direct variation to El Arca de los Vientos, and a nearly complete, one-day Torre Traverse. It was the most successful climbing trip of my life, and I honestly thought that I would never have a more successful Patagonian climbing season.

    One year later, and to my surprise, I can say that this season has been my most successful yet. Of course that is mostly the result of the three big factors (good weather, good conditions, good partner) fortunately coinciding again and again, but I can also say that this year I’ve felt more psychologically strong than in years past. For whatever reason, something clicked for me this season, and I felt, I think, more confident than I ever have before.

    Editor’s note: Rolo Garibotti kicked it off and now Colin Haley concludes our Vida Patagonia coverage for 2015-16 with a collection of excerpts from his incredibly detailed end-of-season report.

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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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