Live like Patagonia’s Founder to Save the World

It’s probably the only way to do it.  And unfortunately, it does take some sacrifice.  Shucks.  Some excerpts from an interveiw with Yvon Chouinard.  Read the whole thing.

“1. Optimism is a waste of time

In the [United] States, I think saving the planet was number 19 on peoples’ priorities, and now I hear its number four again. Number one is personal security. We have a nation of… scary people. Look at all these conservatives that want to arm the whole country. They want to be able to walk in restaurants with their guns and that’s because they’re cowards.

Every empire collapses. The American empire is probably on its way to collapse now. Nature doesn’t like empires. It doesn’t like accumulation in one place, it doesn’t like monoculture. It’s always trying to make diverse species. It wants to spread everything out. And we’re constantly trying to hold everything in.

2. Keep it simple
One of the things I really believed in is the idea of simplicity, that life should always be moving towards more simplicity rather than more complexity. And when I see somebody, you know, riding a finless surfboard and surfing better than 99 percent of the surfers out there, I think, “This is fantastic. This is the way to go.” We’ve gone from tow-in surfing to now paddling into those same waves. And that’s the direction we should be going, rather than more toward technology. In the ’70s there was a thing around that “he who dies with the most toys wins.” That’s wrong—it’s the opposite. You want to replace all that gear with knowledge and experience.

3. Climb every mountain

4. Cheaters never prosper
We all want to cheat. In climbing, there are so many ways to cheat. You can do a route that’s been done 50 times and all you’ve got to do is follow the chalk marks that tell you exactly where to put your hands and feet. I can’t stand to do a route like that because I can’t stand to have people tell me what to do. I want to figure it out myself.

5. Consumerism is killing us
The reason why we won’t face up to our problems with the environment is that we are the problem. It’s not the corporations out there, it’s not the governments—it’s us. We’re the ones telling the corporations to make more stuff, and make it as cheap and as disposable as possible. We’re not citizens anymore. We’re consumers. That’s what we’re called. It’s just like being an alcoholic and being in denial that you’re an alcoholic. We’re in denial that each and every one of us is the problem. And until we face up to that, nothing’s going to happen. So, there’s a movement for simplifying your life: purchase less stuff, own a few things that are very high quality that last a long time, and that are multifunctional.

6. “Slow” travel is important
You remember the trips that lasted for a long time. The way people do trips now, they take a week, they go to Europe—you don’t remember those trips very much. Or you go surfing in Indo for a week. But if you had to go over land or take a boat, it’s really different. That trip [to Mt. Fitz Roy] lasted six months and in that time there were a lot of adventures on the way. From sleeping on the ground in Guatemala and waking up to a gun to our heads—there was so much going on. It became a really important trip in my life.”


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