Not every corporation is evil, no matter how much it looks that way on a day to day basis.
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Take the noted outdoor clothing company Patagonia for example. Here is a company that realizes that its customers buy their clothes and gear to enjoy in an environment that is unsullied by air pollution, oil spills, and contaminated water.
Whether through personal idealism or savy fore-thought about the company’s long term profitability in an environment where those crucial elements are threatened, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has made it his mission to fight the Trump administration at every turn in its attempts to dismantle environmental regulations and enact policies that prioritize energy industry profits over the health and safety of American citizens.
Chouinard spearheaded Patagonia’s legal challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to decimate the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and open up a huge portion of formerly-protected pristine land to oil, gas, and mineral extraction interests.
He also was an extremely loud voice in the chorus condemning Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement which would have committed the US to achieving specifically targeted reductions in carbon dioxide emissions in order to decelerate the rapid pace of climate change.
Back in December, Chouinard told CNN:
“I think the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits. We’re losing this planet. We have an evil government.… And I’m not going to stand back and just let evil win.”
Now in a new interview with GQ magazine, the 79-year-old Patagonia founder brings his attacks on Trump to new heights, declaring that Trump and his cronies are purposefully ruining the environment to profit from it.
“What pisses me off about this administration is that they’re all these ‘climate deniers’—well, that’s bullshit. They know what’s happening. What they’re doing is purposely not doing anything about climate for the sake of making more money,” he said in GQ’s interview.
“That is truly evil. That’s why I call this administration evil,” he continued. “They know what they’re doing, and they’re doing it to make more money.”
Chouinard compares Trump to a wreckless, spoiled child.
“It’s like a kid who’s so frustrated he wants to break everything,” Chouinard said. “That’s what we’ve got.”
Patagonia and Chouinard remain committed to opposing the Republican agenda of removing protections from public lands.
He was one of the driving forces behind moving the outdoor industry’s annual convention from Utah to Colorado after it became clear that Utah’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert, supported the Trump administration’s decisions to remove protections from his state’s public lands, costing the state nearly $20 million in business normally generated from the event.
His motivation for all this activism is not Patagonia’s bottom line, although his environmental stance has been incredibly successful for the company’s branding. In the end, it is a moral stance for the unusual corporate executive.
“I have a little different definition of evil than most people,” Chouinard wrote in a letter to his employees. “When you have the opportunity and the ability to do good and you do nothing, that’s evil. Evil doesn’t always have to be an overt act. It can be merely the absence of good.”
For Chouinard, the only cure is action, and we can expect him to keep it up as long as he still can breathe.