Kris McDivitt Tompkins (on getting out of bed and doing something)

McDivitt Tompkins in southern Chile: a woman and her love and her money. (Pic from The Guardian newspaper and Getty images.)

McDivitt Tompkins in southern Chile: a woman and her love and her money. (Pic from The Guardian newspaper and Getty images.)

I’ve been following this woman’s career for, oh, about 12 minutes now. She was born rich and privileged (even more than, say, me), and also made her own millions as CEO of the outdoor-clothing brand Patagonia. She married, in her mid-40s, another rich dude/outdoorsy entrepreneur-turned-Deep Ecologist named Doug Tompkins, and the two of them decided to pour their money into conservancy and rewilding, into gifts to humanity and the planetary future. (It will take you less than 12 minutes to read this fine Guardian article about her and her recently-deceased partner-in-sublime. The Guardian does some of the best eco-advocacy journalism going.) They bought up huge swathes of land in Chile and Argentina — yup, it’s Patagonia — with no plans other than to preserve them and build local capacity, with The Land as the prime asset and The People as its custodians. It’s beautiful.

I want you to hear from her. The following comes from the above-mentioned article on McDivitt Tompkins, and it seems to me that this wealthy giver, someone who is using her powers of privilege for good, advises us well. Wake up and do good stuff. Yes.

“I think it will take some kind of crisis before we are forced to take action as humans. It’s already a crisis….[Politicians] are so focused on themselves that they can’t do the right thing. People need to get out of bed every day and have to do something that is not to do with them but to fight for something they love and identify with.

“We don’t have the luxury of being complacent. So, no more getting up in the morning and reading the Guardian and calling it a day. You have to act….It’s not about money. There is just no excuse for doing nothing. Abdication is not a possibility. Whoever you are, wherever your interest lies, whatever you’ve fallen in love with, you get out of bed every morning and you do something. You act, you step into the fray, and you fight for a human society that is in balance with the natural world.

“We have no choice. Otherwise we might as well kiss our beautiful planet goodbye. I will be there in Patagonia till the day I die. That’s the idea.”

Kris McDivitt Tompkins (1950- ) was born the daughter of a California oil tycoon, and now lives in and devotes her life to the conservation of a huge acreage in Patagonia that she and her deceased husband have bought and are turning into national parks. She is no longer the CEO of the company Patagonia; she aims to guard and honour the actual, gorgeous, real-world place.

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