There’s a contrast we’re experiencing with economic pain on one hand and the benefits of backing off an economic life where we can reconnect with nature a bit more. In some ways, what’s resulted from this crisis – the connection we’re feeling with each other, the fact that our days aren’t split between work and family in the usual way – we want a little more of that.
All of the sudden we have $2 trillion opened up to help with the crisis – this is the kind of thing we’re going to need at some point for climate change. And we can see that it is possible. We can mobilise around huge challenges.
There has to be some kind of acknowledgement that this consumption economy is not working, and I think people are moving closer to that. That’s the first step. The second is how do we support each other without that? Because that system has kept us all going for decades. It’s going to take time and trial and error to transition.
The business model of making something that doesn’t last, that is designed for a single use and is then disposed of, is a good metaphor for the problems in the economy. If you build a brand and a name and exploit the hell out of it for a couple of year, you exhaust the life of the brand and have to move on to something else. It’s very wasteful.
We all need a much stronger sense of place. If you’re going to have a regenerative economy and regenerate the natural world, you need to understand how your actions affect your community. You need a sense of locality and a sense of agency.
Vincent Stanley, co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company, has been with Patagonia on and off since its beginning in 1973, for many of those years in key executive roles as head of sales or marketing. More informally, he is Patagonia’s long-time chief storyteller.
Vincent helped develop the Footprint Chronicles, the company’s interactive website that outlines the social and environmental impact of its products; the Common Threads Partnership (precursor of Worn Wear); and Patagonia Books. He currently serves as Patagonia company philosopher and is a resident fellow at the Yale Center for Business and Environment. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry. He and his wife, the writer Nora Gallagher, live in Santa Barbara.