tv Patagonias Rick Ridgeway Interview at Atlantic Festival CSPAN October 5, 2018 4:00am-4:16am EDT
of our democratic institutions. >> you just said a bunch of things i want to follow on. [applause] but we need to wrap. if i asked each of you for one word that captures how you are feeling about this moment, where you are at, what would that would be? >> said. -- sad. >> not hopeful? moment, i amry incredibly nervous and fearful of what might happen. i think we are in a profound moral choice point. calling on every member of the senate to understand the incredible generational weight of this moral choice point and all of this -- all of us in this room. it is profound this moment we are in,, and has implications for women and our children, all
children, for generations to come. thing. [applause] >> if you would forgive me, you have a relatively boring title. it conceals what is an extraordinarily rich series of accomplishments and work. in does me in this litany for a moment. you are part of the first american team to summit k2, one of the highest peaks in the world. you have held and sold companies. you have done product development. you are the founding chairman of the sustaining apparel coalition. you created and it -- a successful stock photo and film agency that focuses on nature and film agency. you focus on books and magazine
stories. what is the through line? what has motivated you from one point in that litany to the next? what has been the constant? >> coming up these steps just now reminded me of a gary larson cartoon where there is a guy on the podium going "now ladies and gentlemen, the man who has k2," and you see this old man trip. [applause] [laughter] the through line, i have had this privileged life to be able to go through these adventures across the world. i suppose the through line, the most important one of all, has been the connection that these adventures have given me to the wild parts of the world, to the
natural parts of the world, and how that connection has informed parent,, who i am as a who i am as a business person, as a citizen. if there is anything at the end of this little short session that you can all take away from this is the important of that connection. not in my life, but in your life. so many of us have lost that now. there's so much to be gained from it. >> we are looking at these images of you on the process of climbing k2, of being the first american team to go to this place. it is 40 years since that trip. you find when you go to a place where so few humans of 10 -- few humans have been. was 1978, now 40 years
ago, now it is considered the hardest mountain in the world to climb. it is a good thing we did not know that back then. [laughter] but that is a serious comment. because it represents the limits that all of us can place on ourselves. terms of barriers instead of opportunities. i took so many lessons from the high-altitude that i brought home to sea level from that climb of k2 and apply to my life. obviously, i learned what tenacity can do. i learned about, you know, no so much -- not some is taking risks. climbers learn to manage risks. when you take those lessons and bring them back home and apply them to the job, that can do extra very things. but again, the most important lessons of all were those connections to nature.
of these achievements, even though litany of things i have done, what happened is really cool. going into the guinness book of world records with my climbing partner who took that photograph. shortly before he took that shot, right there on that day, whenre paused on the climb a cloud of butterflies came by and landed in the snow. feet.e at 23 -- 23,500 we took pictures of them and put it in the book i wrote about the climb. just a few months ago, some entomologists were reading that book and they asked us if we had photographs of the butterfly. they named the species. we are going into the book of records for the highest recorded sighting of an insect in history. [laughter] before we talk about patagonia, the company, i want to talk about patagonia the place.
you have been there enough to a relatively from remote place to one that has grown a lot of tourism. what has been lost or gained in the transition? >> again, our little interview here needs to be about the founder of patagonia more than me. called patagonia because, in 1968, he climbed there with his partner who climb to the north face, one of the most emblematic peaks in patagonia. it took them two months to climb the mountain. they drove an old ford van from california to patagonia. that took six months. and the experiences from that doug directly informed how formed the north face and the yvonny esprit and how
founded kata but -- founded patagonia. inspiration from that trip that guided the lives of both of those people. it was going back to this place that we all fell in love with and seeing what happened to it over the interim decades since the late 1960's, where we witnessed grasslands actually turn into deserts. we witnessed forests the clear-cut of beech trees that will take generations to regrow, if they ever do. most astounding in our lifetime is witnessing the disappearance of the glaciers that we climbed when we were kids, that now are no longer there. and now when you witness geologic change, in human time, it can be so profound, it is so
profound that, as an individual, you have to do something about it. if you are in business, as yvon has done, you use your business as a tool as an agent for environmental protection. that is the origin of that commitment. [applause] about -- alk patagonia'sof beent activism has around the beers is monument. has taken the trump administration to court over it. i am curious about the approach you have taken with a company like walmart, just as a positiontion with the of the trump administration. walmart is thought of as a company, in its approach and
values, almost diametrically opposite of patagonia, making new things and lots of reuse -- instead of reuse. the you have partnered with them. you have taken a hard line as a company and your ceo has taken a hard line with the trump administration. why that divergence in approach? >> let me answer your question by>> backing up to the first part. you said we took this activist approach. a groupie at patagonia since 1973, doing contract work for them, going back to the beginning. i have been there as a witness to see how he founded the company, for initially supporting activists.
i have watched this place for a little over 45 years. i can say that it has never been more committed to activism than it is now. it is now over a billion dollar a year happening and it is -- it is doing kickass activism now. [applause] in the 45 years plus we have been in business, we have never been more successful as a business than we are right now. as a business model, it is really working. we want toss model, hold that up to other companies, like walmart, and say, you know what, this works. and walmart, we have been doing things with them now for 15 years, and they come back, like a lot a big companies do and say, you guys can be that extreme, that activist because you serve the very tip of the
customer pyramid, the segment right at the top. we say, you know, guess what, guys, you better pay attention because that pyramid is turning upside down. it is no longer this isolated segment of customers that support our business. fast increasing base that is your base and you need to pay attention to that. the people running walmart, we have been working with them through three ceos, and they have all been committed to varying degrees to guiding their company to increasing commitments to sustainability. and they are serious about it. but over those 15 years, little by little, they are getting more and more committed. and we respect the position we been in, as it has flowing sing them in anyway we can towards those increasing commitments. just two weeks ago, we made the
most recent one, where we want to campaign called time off to vote, where we are try to get other companies to follow our lead, to give their employees the time to go to the polls. [applause] [applause] the biggest one joining us is walmart. that is really important. they deserve a applause for that. if you spoke to senator orrin hatch in utah, he would say that of this land to oil and gas exploration is taking away. it could find public schools. -- fund public schools.
toy hear it commitment conservation and preserving the environment. it takes away from something that is very tangible, money that could go towards educating kids in public schools. how do you answer that? >> using the same lexicon and vocabulary that he does. we can make a very defensible keeping them protected will add more economic than cutting it off, reducing it in size and selling .t off to the highest editor that is a very defensible argument. our industry, the outdoor industry collectively add to the country $870 billion a year. influentialously
and create tens of thousands of jobs in the areas around the protected areas. the region in utah is a very good example of that. enjoying an economic boom because of the expansion. you can make an argument for that that supports our losses against this current administration, to reduce the size of those monuments. >> do you worry that the , divass of your advocacy worried that it contributes to political divergence? >> we do. we all should be worried about that. we cannot turn our back on the .pportunity