Douglas Tompkins: Una Fuerza de la Naturaleza

Kris and Doug Tompkins

Douglas Rainsford Tompkins, de 72 años, uno de los conservacionistas más importantes del planeta, murió el martes 8 de diciembre de 2015 después de un accidente en kayak en el Lago General Carrera en la Patagonia chilena. A través de las organizaciones sin fines de lucro que fundó junto con su mujer, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, los Tompkins compraron cerca de 890.000 ha de tierras para la conservación, formando parte de la reserva natural privada más grande del mundo, el Parque Pumalín en el sur de Chile. Gracias a su defensa persuasiva y la donación de tierras a los sistemas de parques de Chile y Argentina, los Tompkins han ayudado a crear cinco nuevos parques nacionales en Sudamérica, además de expandir otro, y cuyos esfuerzos continúan para establecer varios más. Su trabajo para la protección de parques, y sus proyectos de campos orgánicos, le han otorgado a Douglas Tompkins varios honores.

Montañista con primera ascensión en distintos continentes, Douglas Tompkins fue conocido como el emprendedor que fundó la compañía de ropa deportiva, The North Face, y cofundó la empresa Esprit junto a su primera mujer, Susie Tompkins (Buell). Después de dejar el mundo de los negocios “para pagar el arriendo por vivir en este planeta,” como solía decir Tompkins, el empresario-convertido-en-conservacionista pasó los últimos veinticinco años de su vida viviendo en Sudamérica. Por medio de un conjunto de organizaciones de filantropicas (ver Tompkinsconservation.org), trabajó para crear parques, comprar y restaurar campos degradados, y ayudar a propiciar el activismo por la conservación.

Al ser ciudadano estadounidense, sus adquisiciones de tierra y activismo por el medio ambiente fueron a veces un tema controversial en su nuevo hogar, a pesar de que haya trabajado con dos presidentes chilenos de diferentes partidos políticos para establecer parques nacionales, y haya sido similarmente exitoso en Argentina. Su participación en la campaña que duró 7 años para prevenir un enorme proyecto hidroeléctrico que planeaba represar los ríos silvestres de la Patagonia chilena fue fundamental. Esa lucha finalmente fue ganada gracias a la tenacidad de los oponentes a la represa y el financiamiento y los aportes estratégicos de Tompkins.

Profundamente influenciado por el filósofo noruego, Arne Naess, Tompkins fue partidario de la “ecología profunda,” con la convicción de que un medioambientalismo superficial y reformista estaba destinado a fallar. Solo a través de cambios estructurales profundos en la sociedad y la adopción de una ética ecocéntrica por la tierra—la creencia de que los seres humanos son más bien miembros de la comunidad por la vida y no sus dueños—puede la humanidad lograr revertir su precipitación hacia lo que Tompkins solía describir como “el basural de la historia.” Siendo también un fuerte crítico hacia la mega tecnología, Tompkins dedicó un financiamiento considerable para apoyar la crítica de la tecnología, y fue ampliamente leído en la literatura de este campo.

En esencia un activista por la naturaleza y su belleza, Tompkins poseía un amor indescriptible por el mundo natural que exploraba en sus paseos escalando montañas y remando en kayak. Logró combinar esta devoción con un sentido estético refinado que se refleja en los apuntes de los edificios que diseñó a través de los años en sus proyectos de parques y restauración de campos. Después de haberle “hecho trampa” a la muerte tantas veces en riesgosas expediciones de escalada en algunos de los lugares más remotos del planeta, Tompkins estaba disfrutando de un paseo en kayak con sus amigos en el segundo lago más grande de Sudamérica cuando el kayak en que navegaba se volcó precipitándose a sus correntosas y heladas aguas de las que fue rescatado luego de una hora de tremenda lucha, en un intenso esfuerzo de sus compañeros y un piloto de helicóptero local, con una hipotermia severa de la que no se pudo recuperar y que finalmente le provocó la muerte unas horas después en el Hospital de la ciudad de Coyhaique, capital de la Región de Aysén.

La noticia de su muerte ha sido recibida con pesar y conmoción en la sociedad chilena y con miles de muestras de reconocimiento y afecto por su ejemplo de vida, su compromiso ambiental y legado de conservación reflejado en las áreas protegidas que ha dejado. La Presidenta de la Republica, Michelle Bachelet, declaró luego de su deceso. “EL fue un hombre innovador y generoso en la protección del patrimonio natural del planeta…su obra es de importancia global y su verdadera vocación fue la filantropía. Habla de una mirada de gratitud hacia los otros y sobre todo de compromiso hacia las generaciones que vienen. Desde un comienzo Douglas Tompkins dejó en claro que los parques y santuarios que él tenía en Chile pasarían a ser bienes públicos, como ya lo hizo con el Parque Yendegaia. En nombre de Chile le queremos agradecer su espíritu ecologista y visionario”, expresó.

Douglas Tompkins ha dejado atrás a su querida esposa, Kristine Tompkins; a su madre, Faith Tompkins, y hermano, John C. Tompkins de Millbrook, NY; a su hija, Summer Tompkins Walker, su nuero, Brooks Walker, y a sus hijos, Brooks Thomas Walker, Della Walker, y Susie Kate Walker de San Francisco; a su hija, Quincey Tompkins Imhoff, su nuero, Dan Imhoff, y sus hijos, Gardner y Willa Imhoff de Healdsburg, CA.

Información de contacto: Tompkins Conservation (415) 229-9339

Tom Butler, tbutler@gmavt.net

41 Comments

Filed under Quiénes Somos

41 Responses to Douglas Tompkins: Una Fuerza de la Naturaleza

  1. Ignacio

    My condolences to the family but as a Chilean American I thank your family and organization for letting me at 17 years of age see and experience the land we call Patagonia. His life will be remember everywhere and for a long time to come. I always loved to calm him the man who spoke to the land
    -Ignacio

  2. Tomas Greene

    Our deepest condolences in this sorrowful moment. He helped as an inspiration for thousand of us Chileans. Last year for our wedding we asked as gifts from our friends to donate a forest in Reforestemos Patagonia: it is now one of the largest forests named after our children’s surnames Greene Richter. Thanks a lot Doug for inspiring us :’)

  3. Martin Quartermaine

    One of the great conservationists of our time, he was this world’s Tom Bombadil. He had immense power but chose to live a simple,sincere life but dedicated his life’s work to the conservation of some of the most gorgeous and valuable forests and ecosystems. I am proud to have known him and collaborated with him to found the first private Nature Sanctuary in South America, the Cañi Sanctuary. This great man has made a difference to the world and his passing affects me deeply and Earth has lost a great hero.

  4. Pete Warwick

    Rest in peace Doug. Your wisdom and actions have left a beautiful legacy.

  5. Lloyd Vanderhorst Jr

    Great man. Lets celebrate how he lived AND died. On an adventure. Exploring beautiful wild places. He was doing what he loved and was certain of the risk. You can kind of smile through the sadness when you think of how he lived.

  6. Bruce Clothier

    Down from Maine, I am in Colombia, South America at the moment helping some of my friends here with their businesses and interests. This was absolutely devastating news to wake up to. Prayers for Doug his family and friends. The world will be forever greatful.

  7. Misunderstood by many and used by some politicians. My condolences to his family.

    Thank you for your legacy, have a good journey Peñi !

  8. Osvaldo Vega

    I extend my most sincere condolences to his family and the people inspired by his unvaluable contribution to our home planet.

  9. james Maliakal

    A great inspiration. A visionay who saw the urgent need to protect and preserve our planet to the future generation.

  10. Frank Pröpping

    A very sad Day for Mother Nature.
    I hope that someone follow his Steps too finish his Dream.
    My heartfelt sympathy.
    Sincerly Frank Pröpping

  11. Dave Manco

    I dreaded these times. A hero to many who will be sorely missed.

  12. Will Schipper

    My sincerest simpathy to Kris.

    Will Schipper

  13. Leslie

    A great man and a very sad loss. Our planet needs champions like him. My condolences to his family and friends. Rest in Peace.

  14. Carlos Alberto Mantilla Gutiérrez

    SAD

  15. Carlos Alberto Mantilla Gutiérrez

    INMENSA TRISTEZA …

  16. Marion Hauff

    This is so sad!!!
    He was a great man!!!
    I had the pleasure of his friendship in the eighties and the great opportunity to work with him at Esprit for several years.

    Riposi in pace!!!

  17. Thomas Duffy

    Mr. Tompkins was and will always be a role model on how to live your life – both professionally and personally. It was always a goal of mine to meet him, but unfortunately that will not happen. He was an inspiration to many across the world.

  18. Cody Black

    I am saddened by the passing of Doug. His dedication to the field of Ecology is in part what inspired me to work on my degrees and enter the field. Godspeed Doug, you will be missed.

  19. A great hug for all his family and friends, he was a real inspiration, Im from Patagonia and i really appreciate all his work and contributions.
    We must celebrate such a great life, enjoining nature with friends to the last moments.
    Un abrazo grande desde Bariloche!!!

  20. Korina Gutsche

    dear kris, my love is with you and my silent moments in memory of doug which i will adore foever

  21. Dearest family and friends of Doug, I am so saddened to hear of Doug’s passing. What an incredible human being, I feel blessed to have met him while working at the park in Valle Chacabuco. He and Kristine have inspired,and will continue to inspire, so many people to lead green lives. Working in the park will always be a highlight of my life. His legacy will live on forever and his beloved memory will live on in the hearts of his wonderful family and friends. The planet is so grateful to him and I know it shares our sorrow. May his loved ones find solace in the idea that he was in nature doing what he loved.
    Tears and blessings from my little family on San Juan Island. -Juniper Maas

  22. RIP Doug! My thoughts and wishes go out to the ones who are in grief now! You made the world a better place – a little bit for sure. Thanks for the inspiration.

  23. Zhentian Shen

    His life helps me figure out what it means to live successfully with true purposes, and I hope I will come near where he is by the end of my life.

  24. Edward Hill

    Doug Tompkins is one of my hero’s and I’m truly saddened to hear of the news. I will say that he will always have the perfect view of his accomplishments from his seat in sky!!!! RIP Doug Tompkins

  25. Sarah Otterstrom

    Thank you Doug for being a Force for Nature! You will be missed, but you have left an incredible legacy for us all.

  26. John Engel

    For someone that so loved nature and pure earth, this sad ending is also fitting that he was enjoying his passion. What a great legacy. The human race is thankful.

  27. Andrea Wooldridge

    What an amazing man, to care so much about the future of our greatest resources. May he fly with the angels and discover eternal beauty and peace.

  28. Olimpia Blu Gallo

    Estimados:

    Mis más sinceras condolencias por el lamentable fallecimiento del señor Tompkins, un gran saludo y apoyo a toda su familia.

  29. Estimados Amigos,
    El año pasado, con mi esposa Carola y mi hijo Bruno visitamos el parque Pumalín. Quedamos maravillados. Por las noches, desde nuestra carpa, volvimos a escuchar los sonidos de la naturaleza que solíamos escuchar en nuestra infancia y que creíamos perdidos. Llenamos nuestros ojos de todo el verde que pudimos, y nuestros pulmones de aire limpio, sabiendo que al final deberíamos volver a Santiago.
    Yi Fu Tuan dice: “un lugar es una porción de espacio al que queremos volver”. Pumalín es ciertamente un “lugar” para nosotros, anidado en un sistema mayor y, a la vez, con muchos lugares más pequeños anidados dentro de él.
    La noticia de la muerte del Sr. Tompkins nos entristeció profundamente, como de seguro ha sucedido con muchas personas, pero estamos convencidos de que su proyecto ha alcanzado tal fortaleza que será difícil , si no imposible, revertir su curso.
    Un saludo cordial.

  30. Eighteen years ago this month, my husband Craig Lee and I had the good fortune to meet Doug and Kristine, and visit their home in Patagonia. We carry with us indelible memories of the remarkable farm they had established in such a wild place. The structures were stunningly beautiful and thoughtfully constructed, so they looked as though they had been there for a century. Kristine’s garden was thriving in the austral summer, thanks to her nurturing and the well-designed system of cold frames and raised beds. But what Craig and I still talk about was their commitment to the people with whom they shared that landscape. Doug was eager to show us the bee-keeping and honey producing operation he had launched to bring money to his neighbors. Kristine was encouraging the local women to use the wool from their sheep to produce knitted attire that would appeal to the tourists that were beginning to come to the area as a result of the Tompkins’ creation of Pumalin National Park. Craig and I were the first people to stay at the new accommodations Doug had built at Calleta Gonzalo to attract more visitors. Oh, and we also will never forget the terrifying and stomach turning flights with Doug in his 2 seater stunt plane as he showed us the geographic and mental expanse of his preservation vision. Thanks Doug for those memories, the fascinating debates, and the incredible legacy.

  31. xgabara

    Just watched a PBS story about him – great man

  32. Alejandro Salazar

    Please accept my deepest sympathies for the sudden death of Douglas Tompkins, nevertheless his legacy will survive him deep into the future, regards.

  33. Juliet Yenglin

    Kris,

    I was a volunteer for Conservacíon Patagonica at the beginning of 2014 (during the first condor release). I spoke with you on a couple of occasions, and will always believe that my time in the park and with the community that comprised the park was one of the most influential times in my life. You and your family are in my thoughts during this time. Your work, and Doug’s work and contributions to the world and wilderness is incredible. Take good care.

    Juliet

    Twilight deepens
    into
    the wordless things
    I know

    Francis Povad

  34. Amalia Paredes

    An incredible human being, it’s a huge loss for our planet. He leaves a great example on how one person can do a lot to preserve nature. May he rest in peace. Love for his family.

  35. Me

    To all of the family: wishing you peace as you grieve this loss.

  36. francesca Ciancutti

    Dearest Kristine and family of Doug,
    I send deepest condolences to you and us all for Doug’s passing over. I am so incredibly grateful for the protection of Motherlife that has occurred through you and Doug’s grace!!!!!! Being 1/2 Chilean and a friend of Rick Klein’s through forest activism of the Emerald region I hope to one day visit Pumalin Park with my husband and Chilean family of the Araucania region. VIVA la WILDNESS!!! XOXOX Francesca

  37. So sorry for your tremendous loss. What an amazing life lived and huge inspiration to me, and many others I’m sure, hoping to change the ecological consciousness of our fellow citizens. Leading by example is one of the best ways to do this of course, and Douglas certainly lived that ethos. One of the true greats.

  38. Andy Page

    Incredibly sad news for those of us that see the world needs champions like Doug. With all the negative things going on in the world we need some light at the end of the tunnel. After travelling the carreta austral 2 years ago by bike, and seeing what Doug was trying to do, gave me that hope, It needs people with money and power that see the light, trouble is that combination is a one in a million chance.
    Condolences to his wife Kris, hope she can find the spirit to overcome his loss to the nature he was protecting and carry on the fight for the rest of us,
    most of us who do lots of talking but no action.

  39. Martin Aboitiz

    Sustaining his legacy is now our challenge.

    Live on Doug!

  40. Marcela Pérez Y.

    GRANDE DOUG!!! GRANDE KRISTINE!! porque sigues siendo su compañera activamente, con el mismo espíritu que heredas de él. ADELANTE CON TODO EL EXITO QUE SE MERECE SU OBRA Y QUE SU LEGADO TRASCIENDA GENERACIONES…! Un abrazo del alma.

Leave a Reply to Thomas Duffy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>