Patagonia goes grassroots

 

How Big Rec picks its battles” (11/25/19) distorts Patagonia’s long-standing advocacy to protect public land. The reporter is right to care about border communities impacted by this administration’s grotesque policies and the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry; both are deeply concerning, and Patagonia is addressing them through direct action. But the implication that we choose to fund conservation efforts based on our customer’s zip codes or established networks is false. In just the past few years, Patagonia has funded 75 grants to 46 grassroots environmental organizations in Arizona and New Mexico, and we don’t have a store in either state. We are fighting oil and gas development in remote villages in Alaska and across the American West because fossil fuel development is the number-one contributor to the climate crisis, and because we believe in the protection of wild places over any kind of access.

In San Juan County, home of Bears Ears National Monument, the average household income is nearly $20,000 less than the national average. The five tribes that came together to protect it, along with the conservation and outdoor community, did so because the president illegally reduced the size of the monument, designated by President Barack Obama, by 85%. We “sprang into action” because we had spent years advocating and committing resources to protect the area, lobbied the government to designate the area as a national monument, and were prepared when it was illegally rescinded. This administration seems intent on ripping apart communities and destroying our planet. We should be coming together to fight back and create safe, healthy communities, not making false assumptions and accusations.

—K. Corley Kenna, Patagonia

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