We talked about the retail brand Patagonia a few times already. While it is far from perfect, here is one particular thing I like about them. Aside from offering to repair worn clothes and donating money to environmental projects, Patagonia regularly gives activists a stage to tell their stories, educate people and raise awareness for environmental problems. I attended the film screening last Thursday where they showed „The soul of the Fraser“ in the Patagonia store in Kitsilano. It tells the story of the diversity of species living in the Fraser river area and how they are impacted by climate change and the expansion plans for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2. Over 100 people attended the screening and the following discussion with the filmmaker and one of the professors who provided his expertise in the field. The film evening provided important information and animated lots of people to become active and protest against these changes.
Another film project presented (paid/initiated/researched?) by Patagonia is the „Blue Heart“ about the protest against a Hydro Dam in one of the last wild flowing rivers in Europe, the Vjosa in Albania (Hydro is technically a renewable energy source, but comes with a lot of ecological sacrifices). This campaign played a large role in raising awareness about the project and the river and ultimately led to legal success in the battle between NGOs and communities against the project leaders. Patagonia is now working together with the Albanian government to create the Vjosa National Park.
I envision a business world, where every company provides a stage for information, education and activism surrounding environmental challenges in their specific business field. Whether it’s Patagonia trying to protect rivers and oceans so that their customers can continue kayaking or surfing there or whether it’s Audi or BMW fighting mountain erosion levels in the Alps to protect streets from being damaged so that their customers can continue to drive there. Companies have a valuable and influential position in the lives of many. Why not use that stage for promoting something good?
The movie will also be shown in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum on the 17th of November at 5 pm by the way.