The Cleanest Line

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    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


    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

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

    By Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia VP of Public Engagement


    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


    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

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    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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    On the Road with Worn Wear – 2015 Spring Tour Recap

    Words, photos and illustration by Donnie Hedden

    In the spring of 2015, Patagonia hired me to document a lively traverse across the United States—the Worn Wear tour. The story is as follows.



    “What in the heck is that thing you got there?” mutters a middle age lady smoking a cigarette out back of the service station. “It’s a mobile clothing repair wagon,” I tell her. “We’re going around the country fixing folks’ clothes so they don’t have to throw away their favorite jackets.” She looks off into the distance taking in the concept, sweat beading down her forehead—summer came early in East Tennessee. “Well, if I woulda known y’all were coming,” she exclaimed, “I woulda brought down my jeans. The damn knees keep blowing out!”

    She takes one last rip and puts out her cigarette. “You know, that’s a good idea you’ve got there. This country could use something like that. We buy so much crap and throw it away.” She gets to her feet. “You all travel safe and keep up the good work. I gotta get back to it.”

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    TPP? One global business says, “No thanks.”

    By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO


    Patagonia opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and Fast Track approval. We stand to gain financially from TPP and the potential duty relief on products made within the region, but the minor potential gains are not worth the social and environmental costs.

    We have listened closely to the Administration’s assurances that TPP affords unprecedented environmental and labor protections in a trade agreement. We are not persuaded, for several reasons.

    The biggest problem is the secrecy attendant to the negotiation of the TPP, which has enabled the pact to be negotiated privately, without public comment, until voted by Congress, up or down without amendments, and signed into law. This is the opposite of transparency—and it is weak democracy.

    Map: The Footprint Chronicles®

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    Oregon Rain

    By Kate Taylor


    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.

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    Watch “Denali” the Best of Festival Winner at the 5Point Film Festival

    Today, we’re pleased to share Denali, a film about our good friend, photographer Ben Moon and his beloved dog. Denali recently won the Best of Festival and People’s Choice awards at the 2015 5Point Film Festival.

    From Ben: “This was an incredibly challenging story for me to tell—lots of love and a massive thank you to Ben Knight and Skip Armstrong for making this film a truly moving and beautiful piece. You guys are my heroes! Huge shout out to Patagonia, First Descents, Ruffwear, Snow Peak, and Clif Bar for their support in making this film a reality. And big thanks to everyone else who was a part of this project.”

    Check out more of Ben’s stunning photography at

    Video: Denali from FELT SOUL MEDIA on Vimeo.

    How to Prevent Oil Spills

    By Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia VP of Public Engagement


    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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    The Unacceptably High Cost of Labor – How a deeper dive into our supply chain led to a new Migrant Worker Standard


    Imagine paying $7,000 to get a job. That’s what some labor brokers charge migrant workers in Asian countries to place them in factory work in Taiwan, where many factory jobs go wanting these days. The practice is considered an acceptable part of doing business, though brokers regularly charge above legal limits. Transportation, work visas and other essentials are included. But paying that kind of money for a factory job is an almost impossible burden for workers already struggling to make a living.

    It creates a form of indentured servitude that could also qualify, less politely, as modern-day slavery. And it’s been happening in our own supply chain.

    Above: Rita Tseng is a social and environmental responsibility (SER) field manager for Patagonia based in Taiwan. Here she meets with migrant workers during a factory audit. She is accompanied by our partners at Verité and their team of expert field staff and interpreters who speak the native languages of the workers. Photo: Jeannie Chen

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