After Tahoe Conference, Patagonia Releases new book ‘Tools for Grassroots Activists’

by Placerville Newswire / Feb 17, 2016 / comments

[Participants from the 2015 Tools Conference. Fallen Leaf Lake, California. Photo: Amy Kumler]


On the heels of being recognized by the surf industry for Environmental Product of the Year for its R2 Yulex/Nexkin wetsuit at SIMA Image Awards, Patagonia this week is releasing a handbook for environmental activists across the globe. It’s new book, “Tools for Grassroots Activists: Best Practices for Success in the Environmental Movement,” builds on success stories, expert advice, and tips from the brand’s two decades worth of history in the space.

Co-authored by Patagonia Founder and Owner Yvon Chouinard, the book is a compilation of case studies and essays from Patagonia’s Tools Conference, including recognized activists Jane Goodall, Bill McKibbon, Wade Davis, Annie Leonard and Terry Tempest Williams.

VENTURA, Calif.(February 16, 2016) – Patagonia is proud to announce the release of a new book drawn from everything we’ve learned over the years about how to succeed in building successful grassroots environmental campaigns. Patagonia’s Tools for Grassroots Activists: Best Practices for Success in the Environmental Movement makes the best wisdom and advice from our biennial Tools Conference available to activists everywhere for the first time.

Since 1985, Patagonia has donated 1% of annual sales to grassroots environmental organizations, supporting more than 3,500 groups globally with a total of $70 million to date. Two decades ago, we founded the Tools Conference as an extension of our financial support, bringing together experts in the field to provide practical training for activists of all kinds to help them become more effective in devising and executing their campaigns.

“In a just society, the people with the best information win. But we’re not dealing with a just society,” said Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia. “We need to fight with the same tools the enemy is fighting us with. We have to be more clever and more creative. And we can never lose sight of the fact that every lasting revolution has begun at the bottom, not at the top.”

Tools for Grassroots Activists is comprised of a collection of essays written by presenters from past conferences, including acclaimed activists such as Jane Goodall, Bill McKibbon, Wade Davis, Annie Leonard and Terry Tempest Williams. They offer pointed advice and best practices for grassroots advocacy, fundraising, marketing and communications, campaign strategy and social media, among other critical areas.

“Grassroots environmental activism has never been more important,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. “Activists everywhere are making meaningful, lasting change in their communities and on the world stage, as we saw in Paris last year. We hope this book will bring even greater energy to a growing movement.”

Mark Ruffalo – father, actor, and co-founder of the Solutions Project and Water Defense – praised the book: “The work of grassroots activism can be lonely and tiring. This book will remind you that you are not alone in your fight. Every campaign, every action, every step forward – no matter who or where you are – moves with the grace and power of humanity fighting for our best selves in the places we call home.”

Packaged together with full-color photos, the book also features hands-on case studies, including how the Sierra Club stopped the construction of coal-fired power plants through its Beyond Coal campaign and how Grist built its social media presence.

To accompany the book’s release, Patagonia has published audio podcasts from previous Tools Conference keynote speeches by Bill McKibben, Annie Leonard, Dave Foreman, Terry Tempest Williams and Brock Evans.

“Small environmental nonprofits with shoestring budgets often go up against opponents with deep pockets and armies of consultants,” said Lisa Myers, co-editor of Tools and Patagonia’s Environmental Grants Manager. “This book helps teach strategies for leveling the playing field and winning the ground-level fights at the heart of the environmental movement.”

In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders – corporations and foundations – mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets over $5 million) are doing important work; but they make up just 2 percent of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50 percent of all environmental grants and donations. Grassroots organizations are woefully underfunded, often relying on fewer than five paid staffers without direct expertise in every field required for successful campaigning.

This past year, in addition to publishing Tools for Grassroots Activists and inviting 85 grassroots organizations to South Lake Tahoe for the 2015 Tools Conference, Patagonia identified 741 local grassroots environmental groups in 18 countries, and gave $6.2 million in cash to rivers and forests and to promote sustainable agriculture, prevent extreme resource extraction, protect endangered wildlife and habitat, and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Our planet is in crisis. We need an army of passionate, well-equipped people working at the community level to reverse the devastating path we’ve carved for ourselves,” said Nora Gallagher, co-editor of Tools and Patagonia’s environmental editor.

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