The Entrepreneur Who Wants to Save Paradise: Doug Tompkins

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 15, 2014 - 11:15pm PT
Diana Saverin has an extensive article in The Atlantic:

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/09/the-entrepreneur-who-wants-to-save-paradise/380116/
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Sep 16, 2014 - 06:36am PT
Thanks for the share...interesting article...
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Sep 16, 2014 - 07:10am PT
TFPU this Peter.

The Enlightened, Saviours of the Earth. Policing and protecting Mother Nature from us.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 16, 2014 - 07:34am PT
What Doug and Kris have done is simply amazing. Pumalin is 1,150 sq. MILES of stupendous wilderness.
There current project is building the infrastructure in a former sheep ranch they acquired in the Chacabuco Valley and then combining it with the Jeinimeni Preserve to create the new 1,000 sq. mi. Patagonia National Park. This park will combine different topographies; mountains, forests, glaciers and steppe. It will support incredibly diverse wildlife and will be the backdoor of my house.
And that is only in Chile...Argentina is a whole other story.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2014 - 07:54am PT
All true. But I thought the unique contribution of the article was the revelation of very heated and irrational resistance by local communities to these massive contributions Doug and Kris are making. Proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished.
steve shea

climber
Sep 16, 2014 - 07:56am PT
You have to admire the altruism. Tompkins and his old climbing partner YC. We even feel it here with the 1% For The Tetons initiative for local businesses. But what Doug is doing is really big and as he says no one will remember how the park came to be in twenty years.
WBraun

climber
Sep 16, 2014 - 07:58am PT
Has he provided an alternative source of living survival to those locals whom he has removed their means of living?
crunch

Social climber
CO
Sep 16, 2014 - 08:28am PT
Interesting. Thanks Peter.

Hope things work out for him. Sounds like he's maybe over-reaching a bit, failing to put in the effort to get buy-in from any of the locals, but one article may not be painting a true picture. And yet....

"His (Tompkins) brand of self-reliance brings to mind some of his literary heroes, such as Henry David Thoreau. In Walden, Thoreau writes, “No man ever followed his genius till it misled him.” "

Not so. Let a wise woman put him straight: “If you start believing your own myth, that can mess you up.”
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 16, 2014 - 08:47am PT
I have also heard the allegations of heavy-handedness with those unwilling
to move. Seems like empowering them as co-stewards while they live out their
lives there might be in everyone's best interests rather than giving them
a peremptory boot.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 16, 2014 - 08:49am PT
You're right Peter about local resistance. That was primarily from right wing business interests regarding Pumalin some years ago. There has been a growing environmental movement in Chile. Recently, a massive dam project on the Baker River in Patagonia was stopped by environmental activists.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2014 - 08:54am PT
My admiring observations of Dougie over the last fifty years show that he is much more interested in charismatic and powerful yet still personal gestures involving a very narrow profile of people while still managing to astound everyone anywhere. He is quite a unique guy. He still thinks like a ski racer.

It is amazing to me that the locals have developed wild superstition and rank antipathy over his gigantic works of beneficence . Having left ground level quite sometime ago, grassroots are quite hard to perceive from so high up and anyway, they may just mislead one's vision by fiddling with the small stuff.

Randisi: excellent recommendation, thanks!
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Sep 16, 2014 - 09:43am PT
In Asia, the only way they have been able to create parks and wilderness areas has been with the cooperation of the locals and figuring out how they can make a better living from tourism than from subsistence farming or grazing on the same land. Otherwise, they poach all the animals in a kind of revenge. Once driven off the land, they no longer have an interest in its welfare. The same thing in Africa where the wildlife is not being decimated.

Where the locals are stakeholders, good things happen. For example, in the midst of the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, the locals protected "their" mountain gorillas.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
Sep 16, 2014 - 10:15am PT
WBraun

Has he provided an alternative source of living survival to those locals whom he has removed their means of living?

Nothing is mentioned in this article.
Just another white guy running indigenous people off land they have used for generations.

While I admire his goals, the way he is ignoring the locals concerns looks very callous.
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Sep 16, 2014 - 10:42am PT
There's an inherent conflict of interest when a rich guy tries to impose a vision of the world that forces those struggling to make a living to sacrifice. . . even if I agree with what Mr. Tompkins would like to accomplish.

Chouinard and Gore have the same conflict of interest. That they can completely insulate themselves from the sacrifice they would have others make just doesn't lend credibility to their cause.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2014 - 10:48am PT
Well said, WBW.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Sep 16, 2014 - 10:57am PT
Hippie with a load of money can make a difference. I applaud his efforts, however I wonder how sustainable his work is. I hope he builds a big enough structure to carry his work on after he is gone. Visionary people like him are not always the best people to carry the torch forward. Sometimes you need the evil CEO's touch.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Sep 16, 2014 - 10:58am PT
WBraun

Has he provided an alternative source of living survival to those locals whom he has removed their means of living?

Nothing is mentioned in this article.
Just another white guy running indigenous people off land they have used for generations.

While I admire his goals, the way he is ignoring the locals concerns looks very callous.

The article does read that way. But it could be a case of a lazy writer badmouthing the subject of their piece and generating controversy. Jay Wilson, in his book about climbers, did a similar assassination job on Tompkins a few years ago, making the same claims of arrogance. Some background google searching showed Wilson's complaints to be unfounded, blown out of proportion, cherry-picked. The protests, then, were funded by wealthy industrial interests and the locals were mostly OK with what Tompkins was doing.

In 2014, who knows? I'd hope Tompkins would be smart enough (he's for sure wealthy enough) to hire people to think through the effects on the locals and get their support. This is not addressed in the article--a glaring omission.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 16, 2014 - 11:05am PT
One of the conservation groups I have donated to makes it a point to involve the local tribes in Africa as part of their strategy. They teach how megafauna are far more valuable alive rather than as meat or, worse yet, as ivory or rhino horn.

If there is a problem animal the rangers are called and, if necessary, they dispatch it and distribute the meat (rhino is even tastier than buffalo).

There is still a huge problem with hungry people poaching for survival, but when tribes appreciate benefits from tourism they become allies rather than opponents.


Until we control human population we will continue to destroy nature and, with it, our very life support system.
We are well on the way to killing our oceans, and once that happens the chips will begin to fall ever faster.
Hopefully Tompkins will accomplish more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but it will require far more people to share the dream.
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Sep 16, 2014 - 11:07am PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1472961/180-Degrees-South-Climbing-Surfing-Film
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Sep 16, 2014 - 01:24pm PT
Easy for us to paint Tompkins et'c as big rich benevolent gringos and locals as poor farmers but I imagine it's a much more complex situation than painted in black and white
.
Like most things in this world. Many a logger and logging company decried the protection of the redwoods as it deprived them of their standard way of making a buck or, as they probably referred to it, "their way of life". I'm sure there were similar cries when Yellowstone was set aside. etc. In the grander scheme, people come and go but the land remains. As such, it's worth protecting.
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