Kristine and Douglas Tompkins

Over the years, our conservation work has attracted considerable international media attention, from print media to television to documentaries. We see press as a powerful vehicle for sharing our ecological worldview and conservation approach. Like most large conservation initiatives anywhere in the world, our projects have attracted their fair share of controversy, in part due to their blending of conservation and environmental activism. Activism engenders fervent defense by polluters, land bandits and ultra-developers, and a polemic erupts. Yet controversy ‘gives us the microphone,’ and represents a strategy in itself: it gives our projects a far larger public profile and impact.

Debates on resource management and conservation need a higher profile. Otherwise, conservation largely occurs in remote places, inspires little discussion about the root causes of environmental degradation, and provokes little societal change. New initiatives can use initial controversy as a useful tool for kick-starting media attention and shedding needed light on the threats at hand. Over time, debates over conservation projects almost always swing in the projects’ favor. During the last half-century, the conservation and environmental movements have grown steadily stronger: one might now contend these forces are unstoppable. Will that be sufficient to reverse the massive eco-social crisis we are all ensnared? The jury is out on that.

Below is an assortment of articles about this work, starting with the most recent.


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