International Business Development Manager, Patagonia
From the time he was a little boy, to his current position with Patagonia, Bill Klyn has demonstrated an unparalleled passion for conservation and the outdoors.
How did you become passionate about the outdoors?
Growing up as a little boy in a small town outside Cleveland, I remember going to Lake Erie and seeing scores of dead fish that continually washed up on the beach. I was seven and even as a little guy, I remember thinking that something was wrong [with this]. I began fishing when I was 12 then began skiing and rock climbing not long after that. I always enjoyed time outdoors but it wasn’t until I took a six-week National Outdoor Leadership School course out in Lander, Wyo., that I realized how much these wild places really meant to me.
What led you to a career in conservation?
I moved out to Wyoming when I was 26 and it was there that I plugged into the conservation community. I was active in the fishing and hunting community through my part ownership of a fishing, hunting and outdoor sporting goods business. It was through this work that I saw how much sportsmen really invested in conservation and were willing to step up to the plate for the resources they cared about; through joining national and local non-profit organizations or rallying to support specific issues with hands-on work, donations and using their sphere of influence.
As a business owner, I saw that threats to our fish and wildlife resources in turn were threats to the sustainability of my business and the local economy. I couldn’t run my business without healthy streams and habitat. Nor could I pursue my personal passion for hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.
What role do you see the TRCP and Patagonia playing in the conservation arena?
I still believe that educating and inspiring the public about the threats to our natural resources and offering them a call to action is the key. Bringing the concept of economic viability and sustainability to conservation, protection and enhancement will incentivize businesses, elected officials and end-users to become more involved to do the right thing. I think this is something that the TRCP is excelling at right now. The TRCP’s work uniting hunters and anglers with folks in the outdoor industry is a great example, and following these efforts we are seeing a powerful voice emerge around conservation issues.
So many times in the past we’ve seen groups divide and take sides on issues where we should be working together. How many hunters still think the folks at Patagonia are a bunch of tree huggers? We need to get past these notions and unite around the resources we care about. The TRCP has always been able to reach out and partner with a wide array of organizations. Patagonia looks forward to working with the TRCP to continue to bring these walls down.
What do you think are the most important conservation issues facing sportsmen today?
Gaining an awareness of our water usage is critical. People have to realize that by the year 2025, human demand for water will account for 70 percent of all available freshwater. What does that leave for wildlife and habitat? We need to be thinking about this not only when we use water at home, but when we buy things. To make a pair of jeans, it takes 1,450 gallons of water – that’s enough to provide 58 people with water for a day. We need to look at our impact and take stock in what we are using and what is left for wildlife and habitat. Learn more at www.patagonia.com/environment.
Runaway energy extraction with the focus on next FY profits rather than a long term plan that takes into consideration wildlife and local populations is another key issue. There’s no denying we need to develop our domestic energy resources, but this can be done responsibly.