Patagonia's iconic "power vest" is a favorite for co-branded company swag, but the company has quietly enacted a new policy that shuts out h oil, drilling, dam construction, etc. companies" as well as some "financial institutions" on the grounds that they are "environmentally damaging."
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Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has called on the outdoor industry to join him in backing politicians who believe in preserving public lands; his company has now backed Montana Democratic Senate incumbent Jon Tester (facing a Trumpian challenge from Republican Matt Rosendale, who espouses the cultlike belief that the Constitution bans the federal government from owning land, a belief that was spread by Cliven Bundy and a group of racist Mormon extremists) and Nevada Democratic Congressional incumbent Jacky Rosen with a 97 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
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Turns out those jackets made of recycled plastic are putting lots of plastic into our oceans. Patagonia has led a study showing artificial textiles release a lot of fragments when washed. Eventually those fibers make it into the sea. Patagonia is pushing an effort amongst industry peers to develop standards limiting this form of pollution.
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Fast-forward four more years, and the fibers finally got everyone’s attention. The science was piling on, showing that wastewater treatment plants couldn’t filter out all synthetic fibers, and that toxins such as DDT and PCBs can bind to them as they make their way into watersheds. It also showed that small aquatic species ingest the fibers, and that fish and bivalves sold for human consumption also contain microfibers. Experiments have shown that microplastics can lead to poor health outcomes in some species, and research is underway to find out how the plastics affect humans.
Jill Dumain, director of environmental strategy at Patagonia, was one of the people paying attention to all the news. In early 2015, she and the company’s leadership decided to commission a study to find out if and how Patagonia’s iconic and well-loved fleeces and some other synthetic products were contributing to the problem. The results recently came in, and they’re not good.
The study, performed by graduate students at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that during laundering, a single fleece jacket sheds as many as 250,000 synthetic fibers—significantly more than the 1,900 fibers Browne first recorded.
As close to seeing it in person as it gets, short of going there—and still astounding at standard HD. Read the rest