It was time to mow my front yard, but first, I had to pick up loose sticks and other debris from my lawn. As I was doing this, my neighbor, Bill, walked by, and guess what? He wanted to talk. Before I had a chance to start my lawn mower to drown him out, he spoke. He said, "Did you hear that tree hugger and radical environmentalist was retiring? He was putting his corporation into a trust to avoid paying taxes."
NOT BEING CLOSE TO THE STORY, I ASKED HIM TO CLARIFY.
He said, "Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, was going to hang up his mountain climbing spikes after years of being a tree hugger." He continued, "It's sad to see that dude pay so much attention to trees and nature. What makes someone a druid anyway in the first place?"
I LOOKED AT BILL INCREDULOUSLY AT WHY HE WOULD FAULT SOMEONE WHO'S TRYING TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT. I SAID, "DO YOU HAVE TREES IN YOUR FRONT YARD? OR BACKYARD? HAVEN'T YOU CARED FOR SHRUBS AND PERENNIALS IN YOUR YARD?" BILL, WE LIVE IN THE SUBURBS. EVERYONE LIKES OR TOLERATES TREES AND SHRUBS IN THEIR YARD. TAKING CARE OF THE GARDEN IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF HOME OWNERSHIP. NOT SURE IF I REACHED BILL, BUT I WANTED TO ADD SOME CONTEXT TO WHERE AND HOW WE LIVE IN THE SUBURBS.
Bill mentioned that Yvon lives in poverty and doesn't understand why. Being a founder of a company should bring certain wealth. He continued, "Remember when Donald Trump said he likes his soldiers that are not captured? Well, that idea can apply here; I don't want my business leaders who live in poverty. What kind of example is he setting? Being a big-shot like all the other CEOs.
BILL THREW ME FOR A LOOP BECAUSE I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT MONSIEUR CHOUINARD LIVED IN POVERTY. PURE SPECULATION BY ME, BUT PERHAPS HE'S MOST COMFORTABLE ABOUT HAVING FEW POSSESSIONS. PERHAPS HE'S SETTING AN EXAMPLE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE ONE PERSON CAN MAKE IN THIS WORLD. I REALLY SHOULDN'T SPECULATE TOO MUCH ABOUT MR. CHOUINARD, AS I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IN HIS HEART.
Bill continued, "Yeah, after he's used the earth's resources for 50 years!"
I SQUINTED IN DISBELIEF AND ASKED BILL WHAT HIS ALTERNATIVES WERE. NOT EXIST? HOW COULD HE NOT TAKE UP ANY RESOURCES ONCE HE WAS BORN IN 1937? NO ONE IS PERFECT, BUT HE APPEARS TO BE MAKING IT COUNT FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVE. HE WAS BORN INTO THIS WORLD, AND EARLY ON, IT APPEARS YVON WANTED TO HELP OUT THE ENVIRONMENT WHILE BUILDING HIS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY COMPANY OVER THE YEARS.
Bill suggested that Yvon typically flies private jets. I asked him if he had proof, and he said, "All corporate leaders are corrupt and enjoy the benefits of leadership, so I think Yvon is no exception."
WELL, THAT ISN'T FACTUAL WITHOUT PROOF AND IT'S INTERESTING BILL'S TAKE ON OTHER CORPORATE LEADERS. I'VE READ VARIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL-RELATED ARTICLES OVER THE YEARS ON YVON, AND I'D BE FLABBERGASTED IF HE TYPICALLY FLIES ON PRIVATE JETS. IF HE NEEDED TO FLY, HE'D FLY COMMERCIAL. WE MUST REALIZE THAT ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES FOUGHT BY PATAGONIA'S FOUNDER ARE MORE THAN A PASSION. IT'S A LIFESTYLE.
At this point, I was ready to leave when he made a statement that I didn't even think Bill was capable of producing. "I don't like that he promoted "environment-friendly" outdoor equipment, which has led to the overuse of our lands. This overuse has been done mostly by the upper middle class and wealthy elites." Shouldn't the Patagonia folks feel a little guilty here?
PATAGONIA IS MORE USED BY THE UPPER MIDDLE CLASS AND WEALTHY ELITES. I WILL ALSO AGREE THAT OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT OVER THE YEARS HAS GIVEN PEOPLE A CHANCE TO SPEND MORE TIME IN THE OUTDOORS. BUT HOW IS YVON RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OVERUSE OF OUR LANDS?
I got Bill to admit that the clothing is well made, but he still thinks it's pricey. Patagonia makes clothing for granola types who drive Subarus and don't mind paying extra dough for expensive merchandise. These folks pretend to be nature-connected spiritual persons who have never traveled off the pavement and concrete. Clothing is excellent but pricey, but I don't like the people who would go through the trouble of wearing such clothing.
I WILL AGREE THAT MUCH OF THEIR CLOTHING IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN MUCH OTHER OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT. I WILL ALSO ADMIT THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO FEEL LIKE THEY'RE PART OF THE GRANOLA EATING CROWD. HOWEVER, SOME ENVIRONMENTALISTS WEAR THIS CLOTHING DESPITE THE EXPENSE, AS THEY ARE MAYBE MAKING AN ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT BY DOING SO. IN THAT REGARD, I DON'T SEE A BIG ISSUE THERE.
His response to my last comment floored me, and he said, "There's no need to defend nature; nature can take care of itself."
IN THEORY, MAYBE, BUT NOT IN PRACTICE. MOST WORLD DWELLERS ARE NOT GOOD STEWARDS OF THE EARTH, SO NATURE NEEDS MORE LOVE. NATURE DESPERATELY NEEDS OUR ATTENTION AND CARE TO SURVIVE. IF MAN DOES NOT CARE, NATURE HAS NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE.
REALIZING I HAD YARD WORK TO DO AND WAS TIRED OF TALKING WITH A NEIGHBOR NEGATIVELY ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, I MOVED ON TO MY OUTDOOR CHORES.