I spent my formative years hiking and camping in the Sierras and Rockies. For most of the time, my heros were environmental writers like Edward Abbey, Gary Snyder, and Wallace Stegner (yes, he was an environmentalist) and adventurers like Rick Ridgeway, Yvon Chouinard, and pretty much anyone else making a reasonable living above 6,000′. For this alone, meeting with an idol will be great fun.
On a slightly more professional note, the challenges of our near future (as measured by our children’s prospects) hinge on whether we can divert ourselves from the vicious cycle of consumerism that we have spent the past 50 years entrenching. Common Threads represents a bold attempt by one of the leading corporations-cum-environmental leaders, Patagonia to move us out of this rut.
“We realized that what was really needed was a mutual responsibility between company and customer for the full lifecycle of stuff,” Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s environment VP. “So we would try to reduce the amount of stuff that people buy, fixing products if they were broken, and asking people to clean out their garages and closets, so that if you have clothes you are no longer using, you put them back into circulation.”
Or it represents a brilliant marketing gambit. Still, there is little more we can ask of a company than asking its customers to buy less. Only time will tell. Or perhaps a bottle of wine over dinner. Any questions I should ask him? Either way, if you’re in the area, please show up!