The Problem

"Conquerors of the useless - that's what we were. You learn that what's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished." Today, I'm inspired by Yvon Chouinard. Yes, he's a businessman, but he is also an environmentalist, and philanthropist, a climber, surfer, and explorer (even in his 70's), and generally a no-bullshit kind of guy. He's a business owner who says things like this:

"The reason why we won’t face up to our problems with the environment is that we are the problem. It’s not the corporations out there, it’s not the governments—it’s us. We’re the ones telling the corporations to make more stuff, and make it as cheap and as disposable as possible. We’re not citizens anymore. We’re consumers...We’re in denial that each and every one of us is the problem. And until we face up to that, nothing’s going to happen."


"What's important is leading an examined life because most of the damaged caused by humans is caused unintentionally, I think. And in response to people saying, 'You can't go back,' I say, 'Well what happens when you get to the edge of the cliff? Do you take one step forward or do a 180° turn and take one step forward? Which way are you going? Which is progress?' The solution to many of the world's problems maybe to turn around and to take a forward step. You can't just keep trying to make a flawed system work."

180 Degrees South follows Chouinard and several companions on a several months-long trip to Patagonia. The movie is a little heavy on the Jack Johnson for my taste, but the scenery is unmatched.


"Taking a trip for 6 months, you get into the rhythm of it and it feels like you can just go on forever, doing that. Climbing Everest is the ultimate and the opposite of that, because you get all these high-powered plastic surgeons and CEOs and, you know, they pay $80,000 and have sherpas who put all the ladders in place and 8,000 feet of fixed rope. You get to a camp and you don’t even have to lay out your sleeping bag; it’s already laid out with a little chocolate mint on the top. And the whole purpose of climbing something like Everest is to effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain, but if you compromise the process, you’re an asshole when you start out and you’re an asshole when you get back." - Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Yvon Chouinard has been wearing the same flannel shirt for 20 years. Consume less and consume better.