Today, Patagonia releases Defined By The Line, a film about climber Josh Ewing and his story of converting his passion for climbing into a passion for protecting the public lands of Southeastern Utah known as Bears Ears. Bears Ears contains landscapes vital for climbers – as well as more than 12,000 years of human history and sacred Native American traditions now facing destruction in the face of aggressive oil and gas development, looting of archaeological sites, and un-managed off-road vehicle use.
Defined By The Line supports a campaign by the Bears Ears Coalition, a group seeking to protect sacred sites, sustain Native American connections and preserve the natural beauty of Bears Ears through the creation of a National Conservation Area or National Monument.
Ewing had a good gig in Salt Lake – a corporate job income, the comforts of a city and regular climbing partners. Then he moved to Bluff, Utah where now he scrounges for climbing partners, makes long approaches to chossy rock and has to drive hours to get full-strength beer – all so he could be closer to the remote climbing areas he loved, like Valley of the Gods, Texas Tower and Indian Creek.
But after seeing first-hand how aggressive oil and gas extraction and careless visitation were destroying the region, he drew the line. Now every hour he’s not out exploring his adopted red-rock country, he’s working to defend it – helping to build momentum for permanent protection alongside a strong coalition of tribal voices and conservation groups.
“In the beginning it was all about climbing as a sport. It had nothing to do with wanting to protect this place,” says Ewing. But after seeing the damage being caused to Bears Ears by oil and gas extraction activities and irresponsible visitation with little oversight, Ewing drew a line. In his words, “Loving a place is not enough.”
Click here to watch the film, read essays by Josh Ewing and Utah Diné Bikéyah Board of Trustees Chairman Willie Grayeyes, and sign the petition asking the Obama administration and members of Congress for permanent protection of Bears Ears.
Defined By The Line and our campaign to protect Bears Ears comes as part of a new style of environmental activism initiated by Patagonia called The New Localism – focused on rallying global support around critical backyard conservation initiatives. We’re drawing on two main sources of inspiration: the sports we love, which allow us to spend time in nature, and the grassroots activists working in their own communities to protect their piece of the planet, which we’ve supported for years through our grants program.
We want climbers, customers, activists and anyone else who believes in Ewing’s story and the need to protect a threatened place with nearly unparalleled cultural value to draw their line.
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. A certified B-Corporation, Patagonia’s mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. The company is recognized internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, contributing over $56 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.
Whitney Conner Clapper, 805-667-4725, firstname.lastname@example.org