Patagonia’s first-ever TV commercial is in defense of public lands

From Hatch Magazine’s Online Publication

Patagonia has never run a TV commercial. Not once. In 60 years. Since its earliest roots as Chouinard Equipment, a one-man operation run out of the back of Yvon Chouinard’s car, Patagonia has grown to become one of the largest apparel companies in the world with annual revenues upwards of $500 million dollars. And the company has accomplished all of this, in the competitive apparel world where marketing is half the battle, without ever running a television advertisement. Until now, that is.

Patagonia will air its first-ever television advertisement today but it won’t be in an effort to grow profits or reach more customers. Instead, the company’s first TV spot is the outgrowth of Patagonia’s corporate conscience and its longstanding activist efforts on the front lines of issues such as fair and humane working conditions, reducing the environmental impacts of manufacturing, preserving clean air and water, educating on the mounting issues surrounding climate change and, most recently, preserving America’s public lands legacy.

It is public lands that has prompted Patagonia to make the leap into the world of television with a $700,000 investment in a minute-long spot featuring Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

Despite then incoming Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stating that “our greatest treasures are public lands,” access to and the extent of America’s public lands are increasingly threatened under the current administration. Donald Trump’s executive order requesting a review of 27 of America’s national monuments has put protected lands such as Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument, New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters and more under threat of rescission or reduction.

America’s public lands have long been a target of special interests, through bill mills like the American Legislative Exchange Council and bought-and-sold politicians on the political fringe, such as Utah’s congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, as well as its governor, Gary Herbert. But, under the Trump administration, the Department of the Interior has publicly and unabashedly shifted gears to place fossil fuel extraction above all other land management priorities, bringing the degradation of America’s public lands into the mainstream.

n Patagonia’s 60-second spot, Chouinard outlines the value and threats to America’s public lands heritage and calls on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to stand by his pledge to preserve our nation’s public lands.

“Public lands are under threat now more than ever because of a few self-serving politicians who want to sell them off and make money. Behind the politicians are the energy companies and the big corporations that want to use up those national resources. It’s just greed—this belongs to us—this belongs to all of the people in America,” Chouinard states bluntly in the ad spot.

To air its first television commercial, Patagonia has purchased statewide television and radio time in Montana, the home state of Secretary Zinke. Patagonia has also purchased television and radio time in Utah, home to the the hotly debated Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, as well as in radio time in Nevada, where Gold Butte and Basin and Range National Monuments are also under threat.

In a statement, Patagonia noted that “This is not about politics or partisanship—it’s about standing up for places that belong to future generations. Patagonia wants to raise awareness of history’s lesson that when public lands are turned over to states that can’t afford to maintain them, the result is the land is often auctioned off to private companies who irrevocably damage them and deny access to them for all of us. Whether you are a hunter or a hiker, an angler or a climber, Patagonia wants you to join them in this fight to ensure access and protection for our public lands.”

Watch Patagonia’s first television commercial below.

Here is my letter to the editor published in the Register Guard last week.

Here is another great piece on getting outside and enjoying our national lands.

Another great piece that ran in the Register Guard

In 8/21/17 RG

Interior’s orders troubling for hunters, anglers

By Karl Findling

For The Register-Guard

When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was confirmed by the U.S. Senate back in March, hunters and anglers felt their interests would be well-represented by the agency responsible for managing 500 million acres of the nation’s public lands, including our national parks, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management lands.

After all, as Montana’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Zinke demonstrated that he was willing to buck members of his party in support of a critical public-lands program — the Land and Water Conservation Fund — and was a vocal opponent of the disposal of federal public lands.
However, five months later, unless we see some major shifts at Interior — and soon — it’s looking as if Zinke will go down as yet another politician who fooled the sporting community by pretending to be one of us, someone who legitimately cares about the future of wildlife habitat and public lands.
Ever since the secretary moved into his new D.C. office, hunters and anglers have watched a steady stream of antisportsmanand anti-wildlife orders flowfrom his desk. First, it was a secretarial order to eliminate the Interior Department’s mitigation policies, which are intended to offset the impacts of development on fish and wildlife populations. Mitigation is common sense and completely necessary to ensure that we continue to have healthy fish and wildlife habitat as development spreads on the landscape.

Along with hits to mitigation came a process aimed at eliminating “potential burdens” to oil and gas production. To put it into perspective, safeguards in place to conserve mule deer or bighorn sheep habitat could be perceived as “potential burdens.”
Next came a review process in which the secretary announced that the Department of the Interior was going to evaluate 27 of the nation’s national monuments covering 11.3 million acres, with an eye toward revoking or shrinking individual national monuments through executive action. These tactics are of questionable legality and could threaten the legitimacy of all monuments dating back to Devils Tower in Wyoming, which was created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
Of the 27 monuments being reviewed, 22 are open to hunting and fishing including the 100,000-acre Cascade Siskiyou National Monument in the southwestcorner of Oregon, a national treasure that provides important public recreation opportunities and habitat for big game and wild trout. Its future is now at risk.

Third, the secretary directed the Interior Department to review the national sage grouse conservation plans, which were the product of years of collaboration between public, private, local, state, and national interests to find common ground and keep the sage grouse off the threatened species list. These efforts also provided numerous benefits for big game — like mule deer and wild sheep — as well as native fisheries and other wildlife. Just the other day, Interior released a report on the sage grouse plans that could lead to a significant rollback of conservation safeguards, affecting 67 million acres of important wildlife habitat.

If these ongoing and anti-sportsman processes don’t cause alarm, maybe the fact that the secretary recently attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Denver, Colo. ALEC is known as being one of the primary proponents of disposing of America’s 640 million acres of public lands, the same lands that 72 percent of Western sportsmen depend on for hunting access.
This is also the time to renew — and increase for inflation — the 53-yearold Land and Water Conservation Fund.It utilizes offshore drilling royalties to fund land acquisitions and helps to create fluid uninterrupted wildlife corridors. The best example of this process in Oregon is the 2015 purchase of the 10,000acre Lower Deschutes River Ranch. In partnership with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife and other conservation groups, the LWCF funded the purchase of a private in-holding which preserved 25,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat benefiting steelhead and bighorn sheep, and secured public access — a win-win.

I understand that there will be policy changes under a new administration. But I also expect that, as a self-identified Western sportsman and Theodore Roosevelt conservationist, Zinke would demonstrate that he cares about our community and our interests. With energy, monument and sage grouse conservation decisions looming in the coming weeks and months, the time is now for the sporting community to judge the secretary. And it’s time for Zinke to show that he cares.

Karl Findling is the owner of Oregon Pack Works in Bend. He is a member of the Steens Mountain Advisory Council and several sportsmen’s groups.


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2 Responses to Patagonia’s first-ever TV commercial is in defense of public lands

  1. Jim Terborg says:

    Thank you Chris. I’m going to support Patagonia by purchasing their products.

  2. fishburg says:

    Way to go Chris…I appreciate your voicing this vital opinion.

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