“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
Over the past few years, we – Team Rios Libres – have drawn inspiration from this wise sentiment while also striving to live up to the challenge it puts forth. Sometimes the task of ‘Keeping Patagonia Wild’ and protecting its free flowing rivers can feel overwhelming, but this feeling rarely lasts long because we know we are not alone in this effort. We are, in fact, a small part of an international movement (made up of over 70 NGOs) that continues to gain strength and a voice.
Our time last week at the Outdoor Retailer show, an immense gathering of gear, athletes, vendors and organizations, reminded us yet again of our incredible support network. For the first time since our inception, we had an official presence at this powerful gathering of our tribe. Thanks to support from a key sponsor, Klean Kanteen, our booth – adorned by incredible art from climber and luminary, Jeremy Collins – buzzed with activity throughout the show. As a result, we were able to talk to thousands of people about the threats facing Chilean rivers and the people who depend on them.
Moved by our message, hundreds of people took immediate action by sending electronic letters to President Piñera directly from our booth. We know that these voices – calling for Chile to validate the wants of 75% of their people by adopting a sustainable, alternative energy model – will add to those from around the world and will help sway Chilean leaders to make the best decision for their country.
Klean Kanteen and another key sponsor, KEEN, supported us even further by holding happy hours that helped raise awareness for our cause. In addition, the Outdoor Retailer demonstrated their commitment to creating change by throwing the Outdoor Industry Jam as a joint fundraiser for Rios Libres and Paradox Sports.
All told, we talked to thousands of people, sold over 1300 stainless steel cups and handed out 500 stickers and 30 posters branded with Collins’ powerful imagery and the message “No More Dams. Not bad for 4 days of non-stop action!
So, as we return to our desks today with a regained sense of purpose, we’d like to thank everyone we met at the show and our sponsors – Klean Kanteen, KEEN, Osprey, Patagonia, Kahtoola,Clif Bar, and Outdoor Retailer. Your support, encouragement and kind words have reminded us that we are definitely not on our own in the fight to protect Patagonia. Thanks to you, we return re-energized, inspired and ready for more….
Read about what we’ve been up to and our plans for the future here.
If you missed us at OR, but still want your voice to be heard, head here to take action.
Check out more photos from our fun-filled weekend below: