Sadly, Douglas R. Tompkins passed away yesterday after a kayaking accident in Chile. Most of the news headlines nutshell his bio as “North Face Founder” or “Founder of North Face and Esprit” because that’s what made him a billionaire, but he left the business world decades ago after his ecological concerns led him away from the consumerism of the fashion industry and into conservation.
I never had the opportunity to meet Doug, but he generously endorsed an advance copy of Fracture, and his own nutshelling of his bio made no mention of North Face or Esprit. Instead, he cited his environmental work as founder of Tompkins Conservation and the Foundation for Deep Ecology. So yes, let’s remember his success as an entrepreneur, but let’s also remember that he walked away from all of that to become a hero of the modern conservation movement.
I guess this post is my way of honoring Doug’s memory and the example he set for leaders of the twenty-first century. Our world is better because of him. Thank you, Doug, and thanks to all those who continue his work.