Wednesday July 26th 2023
T2C’s Sustainability Steward World Leader: Kristine Tompkins, President and co-founder of Tompkins Conservation
Kristine McDivitt Tompkins is the president and co-founder of Tompkins Conservation, an American conservationist, and former CEO of Patagonia, Inc.
For three decades, she has committed to protecting and restoring wild beauty and biodiversity by creating national parks, restoring wildlife, inspiring activism, and fostering economic vitality as a result of conservation.
Kristine and her late husband Douglas Tompkins have protected approximately 14.8 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina through Tompkins Conservation and its partners, making them among the most successful national park-oriented philanthropists in history.
Through Tompkins Conservation and its offspring organizations, Rewilding Argentina and Rewilding Chile, she has helped to create or expand 15 national parks in Argentina and Chile, plus two marine national parks in Argentina, and works to bring back species that have gone locally or nationally extinct, such as the jaguar, red-and-green macaw, and giant river otters in Northeast Argentina, and Darwin’s rheas and extremely endangered huemul deer in Chile. Kristine served as Patron for Protected Areas for the UN Environmental Programme from 2018-2022. The recipient of numerous honors, she was the first conservationist to be awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. Her 2020 TED Talk, “Let’s Make the World Wild Again,” has over two million views.
About Tompkins Conservation:
Founded by the late Douglas Tompkins and cofounded by Kristine Tompkins, Tompkins Conservation is protecting and restoring wild beauty and biodiversity by creating national parks, bringing back species through rewilding, and fostering regenerative economies. Over three decades, the nonprofit has protected approximately 14.8 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina through the creation or expansion of 15 national parks in Chile and Argentina, in addition to two marine national parks of 30 million acres. Through active rewilding, the non profit is bringing back over a dozen species that are in critical numbers, endangered or locally extinct through its offspring organizations, Rewilding Chile and Rewilding Argentina. In 2015, a kayaking accident in Patagonia took Doug’s life.
Alongside his wife Kris, the couple are amongst the foremost conservation philanthropists in history.
• Introduction, biography and awards and achievements including creating or expanding 15 national parks in Chile & Argentina.
• The public release of Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s new documentary of Kristine and Douglas Tompkins ‘Wild Life.’ How did Kristine experience promoting the film and having the opportunity to put her extraordinary life on record and set out her legacy.
• Why did Kristine trust Jimmy Chin and his wife Chai Vasarhelyi to make ‘Wild Life’? Chin’s remarks that “this is a story that should be told.” How making the film took 7 years to craft and what impact Kris hoped to achieve with the documentary.
• How Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi peeled out the main story from many stories and with 26 years of archival footage.
• ‘Wild Life” on public release now on Disney + and Hulu.
• Before he died in a tragic Kayaking accident, Doug was profiled at home in Pumalin Park in Laetitia Cash’s ‘Journey to The Future Patagonia National Park‘ where he quoted Martin Lurther King’s poem on technology and modernity disconnecting the human being from nature and god.
• Kristine is asked to share about her view of the role of technology in accelerating environmental degradation and climate change – doing more harm than good?
• Kristine shares that it’s not a question of power and technology in and of itself but rather what are “we”, as human collective, doing with it? “The price of technology is being paid today.”
• The 30% by 2030 and 50 by 2050 UNEP/UN conservation goals and the objective to create “durable” National Parks.
• Priorities of tackling the harm being caused to nature by industry, agriculture and industrial fisheries.
• How Kristine believes society can strike the right balance between protecting nature and biodiversity, achieving land restoration and sustainable communities with issues like food security or fuel poverty.
• Ecocentrics (deep ecology movement/nature first) Vs Anthropocentrics (outlook based on climate change caused by humans)
• How to get conservation right and how to can be done wrong. Importance of ‘pecularities of place’.
• Impact on Ibera, wetlands Tompkins Conservation’s (TC’s) 2 million acre National Park and the re-introduction of jaguars (and pumas at Villa Chacabuco).
• Transformative nature of rewilding Ibera to create a sustainable thriving local community and economy with local eco-tourism.
• The role of preserving biodiversity fo the whole ecosystem in the context of Tompkins Conservational National Parks and the significance of the mass extinction crisis.
• Kristine shares the importance of ‘Rewilding our minds” and asks, “how do we judge actions that might protect nature and life into the future? What does it mean to be part of nature?
• How, like a Noah’s Ark, the Tompkins created or expanded 15 National Parks (and now 2 marine) to counter the extinction crisis, hoping it could act as a “petri dish” to reboot species continuity against global collapse. Importance of humans understanding they must live within planet’s natural boundaries.
• If Kristine was US President what would be her top 3 policy wishes to save the planet? 1) Stop industrial fisheries 2) Extraction/Mining industries including lithium-ion for batteries and deep-sea mining 3) Preserving forests/Boreal Forests in Eastern Russia (‘Amazon is the one that gets the most attention’) 4) Preserving peatlands
• Sustainable Development Goals and leadership – leading by example – how to strike the right balance protecting the environment and maintaining standards of life for ordinary people? Should we have de-industrialization? What is the cost to climate and the environment?
• What are some of the things Kristine thinks should happen: 1) A carbon tax for Western world 2) End subsidies on industrial fisheries and instead subsidize regenerative farming 3) raise corporation tax in the USA
• Raise awareness that only 3% of overall philanthrophy goes to “the environmental movement” and only 10% of that goes to conservation.
• What environmental and social mpact does Kristine, Yvon Chouinard and the late Doug Tompkins feel their own legacies with The NorthFace, Esprit and Patagonia Inc and now their eco-philanthrophy and creation and expansion of 15 national parks has made?
• Kristine shares the important distinction between private and public companies and the difficulty in changing behaviour and the agressive pursuit of profit on the part of public companies.
• Founder and owner of Patagonia Inc has chosen to donate the billions of profts of their company to environmentally dedicated trust via a 501C4 foundation – Kristine and Doug Tompkins invested $480 million, including funding from donors, to help create or expand 15 NationalParks and rewild.
• The special attraction to Tompkins Conservation due to the sheer scale of their projects.
• TC’s inclusive and welcoming ethos that no contribution is too small or too big.
• Volunteering opportunities across all the Chile and Argentinian projects. Doug Tompkins’ famous style ethos “no detail is too small.”
• Kristine’s recommendations of the gems to travel in the Patagonia region: Ibera, wetlands. Inland terrestrial projects where lots of tourism jobs need to be filled and “everyone is welcome”, from the rich and famous to the modest backpacker. Doug’ 5 Star service in his venacular style accomodation lodges across the 15 National Parks, incuding several without infrastructure, to preserve it just for preservation not eco-tourism.
• Kristine is asked for one more project she sees as imperative to TC team? Marine Conservation “no take zones” along the coastal areas of their National Parks in Argentina and Chile (e.g. 3 years ago Kristine helped secure 30 million acres of “no take zones”).
• Priority for Kristine is in this arena is to “get the designated areas on the books”. The main question being how to enforce these marine protections and ensure they are ‘durable and real” especially when on a very large scale.
• Which marine life is most at risk? Krill in Antarctica and phytoplanktons; “the tiny things in the sea” upon which all sea life depends that are vital. Sardine and anchovy are being hoovered up. Kristine warns, “this can trigger the most incomprehensible species collapse.”
• SCPS podcast wrap up: How to Get involved? Donate or volunteer to participate in specific projects (Ibera (wetlands), Patagonia Azul (“Blue Patagonia”, Cape Froward), become a supporter of Tompkins Conservation. Go to Get Involved, “Get Wild” Section – www.tompkinsconservation.org
Douglas Rainsford Tompkins
Douglas Rainsford Tompkins and his wife Kristine Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia Inc, walk through their Patagonia National Park in the Palena province of Chile, just one of the National Parks created by their co-founded Tompkins Conservation part of their historic 6.2 million acre
conservation and eco-tourism endowment.
Kristine and the late Douglas Tompkins
George Duffield and Chris Gorell Barnes
Philanthropists & Projects
Rewilders & Wildlife Protection
Seed & Soil Preservation
Organic Farming & Permaculture
Biodiversity & Estate Management
Eco-Tourism & Adventure
Local Community Projects
Carbon Credits & Offsetting
Transition2Conservation seeks genuine sustainable development by offering opportunities in land restoration, rewilding, biodiversity and other agricultural projects to forge greater partnerships between the conservation and energy transition movements in new ways from carbon credit and offsetting schemes to new inhabitable, local and national park initiatives.
Transition2Conservation, another key solution for delivering the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG’s), seeks to combine the energy, environmental and conservation movements by providing access to the most reputable pioneers in these arenas with inspiring new opportunities in land restoration, rewilding, biodiversity and other agriculturally innovative projects with the aim to facilitate new partnerships and constructive ways to restore balance to our planet.
Starting with the world’s most accomplished ‘gamechangers’ in their chosen fields, already turning their organisations, companies experience and breakthroughs into reality, T20’s Safer Cleaner Planet Series is a recorded podcast format of video interviews aimed at sharing this specialist knowledge across the whole energy transition community to enable this change to happen.
While T20’s realism may be borne out of increasing alarm over this “energy blindness” and the subsequent failure to deliver affordable energy, as our core team all started life as environmentalists and conservationists, it comes as second nature for our policy and consultancy work to seek the highest environmental and clean energy standards. (SDG 6 – Clean Water (and Air) and Sanitation/SDG 15 – Life on Land/SDG 14 – Life Below Water).
With the aim to redefine ESG into a range of standards that more accurately addresses the goal of “Sustainable Development”, as traditionally understood, T20 is also setting up a sister Not For Profit Foundation in Switzerland, Transition2Conservation (T2C), with the goal of offsetting any use of fossil fuels across transportation, infrastructure or energy and power generation from large to island scale. By accurately measuring, with use of satellites and Big Data, industrialised nations air pollution, including carbon emissions as well as full Life-Cycle carbon footprints derived from the production of conventional renewables such as wind turbines, batteries and solar panels throughout the supply chain around the world.
T20 will also address in detail the importation of carbon into European countries from developing ones, including the merits of initiatives such as the Carbon Adjustment Mechanism, which can also help to boost the competitiveness of more localised supply chain providers.
To assist in compensating the planet and local communities for the necessary short-medium term continuation of fossil fuels (applicable to large nuclear power plants as well), to ensure economic growth and stability as the most immediate low cost energy option for our current security of supply crisis, T20 will work with energy clients to curate complementary conservation projects remote from, adjacent to or closely affected by each T20 energy company geography. (SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities). The objective being to steward meaningful eco-energy balanced legacies both for the energy companies and their affected local inhabitants.
It is important to add this is a short term strategy for the energy transition to ensure energy security during a difficult period, however, our goal is to accelerate the energy transition to clean energy as set out by the UNFCC’ ultimate objective to stay within 2C.
Company Number: 14426692