Those of you who see me around campus or around town know that I'm a huge fan of Patagonia, the place and the company. I have been since I was in college. There are loads of reasons to like the region - the people, the mountains, the diversity, the hiking. And there may be just as many reasons to like the company (Note: I don't own stock in the company, nor am I being compensated for this message). The company treats its employees well, they support activistswho are working to find solutions to environmental problems, etc., etc.
Kris Tompkinsis the former CEO of Patagonia and is the current president of Tompkins Conservation. If you don't know what Tompkins Conservatoin is doing in South America, you should. Basically, the organization has given tens of millions of acres to the Chilean government to establish a network of National Parks. I think it's the largest gift of land from a private organization to a government ever. This videois worth watching for a one-minute introduction. It's inspiring stuff, at least from my perspective.
My friend and colleague, Mark Usher (Classics Department) shared this piece from the Washington Postwith me. It's written by Kris Tompkins and Tom Butler. It's provocative, in several ways. First, they argue that we should quit talking about 'sustainability.' They write
So let’s quit talking about “sustainable” this or that and face the overarching question about the future: Can we create a durable civilization in which humans become good neighbors in the community of life? Where our society is embedded in a matrix of wild nature that allows all creatures — from microorganisms to blue whales — freedom to pursue happiness and raise their progeny in a secure habitat?
Second, they say that the way to accomplish this is by "rewilding."
The path to that flourishing future for the diversity of life is “rewilding” — helping nature heal by returning missing species and processes to parts of the planet where they’ve been eliminated or diminished by human activity.
Rewilding has many vocal advocates. There are even TED talksabout it. But it's not without its opponents as well. (Note, friends and I have written about it, urging some caution). I won't go in to the various arguments for and against rewilding here. But if you're not familiar with the issue, I predict it's going to be one of the hot button conservation issues in the coming years. So now is the time to familiarize yourself. Watch the TED talk. Read the paper my friends and I wrote (linked above). And let me know what you think.
Happy Friday -
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