‘This is Bears Ears National Monument’ concludes with a call to action to Secretary Zinke.
Writer: Carly Terwilliger
Patagonia released a series of interactive 360-degree films as part of its initiative to protect Bears Ears National Monument by highlighting the cultural and recreational significance of the threatened Southeastern Utah region.
In This is Bears Ears National Monument, powered by Google’s 360 technology, Patagonia’s 10 short films draw on the storytelling of Native American tribal leaders and outdoor athletes. The film concludes with a call to action to Secretary Zinke, asking him to stand up for public lands and defend Bears Ears National Monument.
Patagonia has been fighting for the protection of Bears Ears since 2013, supporting the historic vision of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and grassroots allies at Friends of Cedar Mesa and Utah Diné Bikéyah. In April 2015 the company released Defined by the Line, a film about climber and conservation activist Josh Ewing and his story of converting a passion for climbing into a passion for protecting Bears Ears.
Building on the connection that many climbers have to the region, Patagonia expanded its efforts to include environmental grants to local groups, in-kind donations to local communities and regular use of company communication channels to amplify its outdoor business voice in Utah to call for protection.
Earlier this year, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard penned an open letter to Utah Governor Gary Herbert demanding he stand up for public lands. The Governor responded by signing a resolution asking President Trump to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument. As a result, Patagonia announced it would boycott Outdoor Retailer as long as it is in Utah, and days later, the Outdoor Industry Association announced it is in the process of finding a new home for the $40 million industry trade show.
“Bears Ears National Monument is a sacred home for Native Americans, a world-class location for rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts, and a mecca for archaeologists. But it is also a target for looters, mining and energy companies and elected officials who want to privatize and develop the nation’s public lands,” said Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s chief executive officer. “It is our hope that this film will help to defend this national monument by bringing it to life and spurring action to protect this American treasure.”
On Patagonia.com/bearsears, visitors can choose whether they want to explore the cultural or sport aspects of Bears Ears National Monument. Viewers can scan walls adorned with petroglyphs and learn about them from a Hopi archaeologist. They can follow Navajo Elder Willie Grey Eyes as he travels through a narrow slot canyon and tells stories of his ancestors, or climb the iconic North Six Shooter tower with Tommy Caldwell and take in the expansive desert views from above.
To support the interactive film experience, Patagonia is underwriting PBS NewsHour and purchasing a digital advertisement on NewYorkTimes.com. This is the first time the company has created a television advertisement.
Discover Bears Ears is a joint production with director Fitz Cahall and his company Duct Tape Then Beer.
Photos courtesy Patagonia, Marc Toso & Josh Ewing