Homage to Patagonia

July 19, 2019
Posted in Blog
July 19, 2019 Ross Fairgrieve

The story goes that Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the outdoor brand, Patagonia, in starting the company did so with a desire to wear clothing that worked for him. While in other parts of the sports and fashion industry, this vision might have given way to eccentric, excessive or glamorous interpretations of what “worked” really meant, Chouinard meant it in only the most functional way. One of the most famous anecdotes is that he wanted trouser pockets shaped so that, when he put his feet up, the coins didn’t fall out.

Power for People is all about energy systems that work long and well, and as a result, help us to use less overall. These things are in themselves crucial if we are to first stop, and then undo, the breakdown of the earth’s climate. For both these reasons, and although we wouldn’t normally seek-out or broadcast the support of a brand, for Patagonia we’re really happy to make an exception in shouting about the £4k funding they recently gave to help us keep-up the work we’ve started.

Support for action on climate change is now pretty uncontroversial, especially at a corporate level where businesses are happy to show-off their eco credentials – but Patagonia have taken things further. The company is rare in engaging with the conservation about climate on a level that understands climate change is structural, and that as a result of that, climate change is political.

Keeping with this commitment, the company has given hundreds of millions of dollars to help turn lands in Latin America to national parks. When Donald Trump gave corporate USA a huge tax break in 2017, Patagonia committed to putting all the money the business saved into a fund that would combat climate change. Staff canteens have for a long time promoted a healthy and mostly vegetarian diet. Worn-out clothing is repaired or recycled. Chouinard’s company talks the talk but is also pretty good at walking the walk.

Our work with the Local Electricity Bill draws on the same inspiration for our energy system. The goal isn’t to patch-up a broken system or offset the harm that we do to the earth, but to construct a system that works at the grassroots. We want to help people and communities build the energy systems they and the earth need, and we’re confident that the change in the law that the Bill proposes will be a massive step towards delivering a cleaner future for energy.

Patagonia’s support helps us keep you posted on what we’ve been up to, to do more of it, conduct important research, and to make plans for future campaigning. We’re grateful to them for the help, and to you for helping spread the word of what we’re up to as we continue to grow.