Here’s Hoping No Snowmobilers Own Anything Patagonia

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(SnoWest ED—Following is a press release we recently received from Patagonia. If you buy stuff from Patagonia, you are directly supporting groups that want to close down or further restrict our riding areas. Think about that the next time you purchase clothing.)

Patagonia Hits Key Environmental Activism Milestones

New VP of Environmental Activism, $6.2M given to grassroots groups, Tools Conference 2015

Ventura, Calif.Patagonia is announcing three key milestones that demonstrate how environmental activism continues to become more and more embedded in the core of its business.

The company gave $6.2 million to 741 grassroots environmental groups around the world; it appointed a new senior leader to focus on activism; and it will again host Patagonia’s biennial Tools Conference—a four-day conference for small grassroots organizations—later this month.

You can read more about these milestones below and get in-depth with Patagonia’s social and environmental initiatives here. An interactive global map containing all 741 local grant recipients is available here.

Giving 1 Percent Of Sales To Grassroots Activists Worldwide

Each year, Patagonia pledges 1 percent of its sales to the protection and restoration of the natural environment—regardless of the health of its sales or the economy. The company calls it their Earth Tax.

This year, the company identified 741 local grassroots environmental groups in 18 countries, and gave them $6.2 million in cash to rivers and forests, promote sustainable agriculture, prevent extreme resource extraction, protect endangered wildlife and habitat, and mitigate the effects of climate change.

In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders—corporations and foundations—mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets more than $5 million) are doing important work; but they make up just 2 percent of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50 percent of all environmental grants and donations.

Meanwhile, funding the environmental movement at a grassroots level—where change happens from the bottom up and lasts—has never been more important. But these groups continue to be woefully underfunded. That’s why Patagonia supports community-based organizations—often edgy and off the beaten path—working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards. These individual battles are the most effective in raising more complicated issues in the public mind, particularly those of biodiversity, ecosystem protection and climate change.

Since our program began in 1985, we’ve given $70 million to more than 3,500 groups globally.

New Position: VP Of Environmental Activism

Patagonia also appointed Lisa Pike Sheehy to a newly created role: Vice President for Environmental Activism. She will bring activism even more deeply into the company’s day-to-day business. She joins Patagonia’s core leadership team and will report directly to CEO Rose Marcario.

She has been with Patagonia for 12 years and has strategically guided 1 percent for the Planet annual giving. She also oversaw initiatives like Oceans as Wilderness, Our Common Waters, Vote the Environment and the most recent New Localism campaigns. She serves as a Board Member for the Outdoor Industry Association and 1 percent for the Planet, and previously sat on the Conservation Alliance board for 10 years. Just last year, she was honored as a recipient of the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition Pioneering Woman of the Year Award.

She’ll continue to oversee grassroots giving as well as running and developing environmental campaigns, and will oversee Patagonia’s Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference.

Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference

In its 21st year, the company will be hosting its biennial Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference later this month—bringing representatives from more than 85 grassroots environmental organizations to an intensive, four-day learning and idea-sharing retreat.

These groups often have fewer than five paid staffers, often without direct expertise in every field required for successful campaigning. The company is looking forward to talking with local organizers about ways to enhance activist efforts through advocacy, fundraising, marketing and communications, campaign strategy and social media, among other critical areas.

Presenters this year include Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis, Communications Strategist and Spitfire Strategies Founder Kristen Grimm, Google Earth Outreach Team members, Patagonia Owner and Founder Yvon Chouinard, and Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. 

And in Spring 2016, for the first time Patagonia will release a book corresponding with the Tools Conference, designed to bring its activist teachings—strategy and tactics—to a much wider audience and expand the conference’s reach.

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