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33 Best Yvon Chouinard Quotes on Adventure, Business, & Earth

Painting of a Yvon Chouinard rock climbing

There's no doubt that Yvon Chouinard is a force to be reckoned with. As the founder of Patagonia, one of the most sustainable outdoor brands in the world, Chouinard has spoken out on a variety of environmental issues over the years.

From promoting adventure as a way to reconnect with nature, to urging businesses to take responsibility for their environmental impact, Chouinard has some strong thoughts on how we can all help protect our planet.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from this legendary outdoorsman:

The Best Yvon Chouinard Quotes About Living a Thoughtful & Sustainable Life 

Famous Quotes From the Founder of Patagonia

“I have a little different definition of evil than most people — When you have the opportunity and the ability to do good and you do nothing, that's evil. Evil doesn't always have to be an overt act, it can be merely the absence of good.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“I have a little different definition of evil than most people — When you have the opportunity and the ability to do good and you do nothing, that's evil. Evil doesn't always have to be an overt act, it can be merely the absence of good.” — Yvon Chouinard

“I've found the cure for depression is action.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” — Yvon Chouinard

“To do good, you actually have to do something.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“You ask me about the past, you ask me about the future, the only way to be happy is to be living right now.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“You ask me about the past, you ask me about the future, the only way to be happy is to be living right now.” — Yvon Chouinard

“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything.” and an optimist who says, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyways.’ Either way, nothing happens.”
— Yvon Chouinard

About Sustainability

“We’re a part of nature. As we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves. It’s a selfish thing to want to protect nature.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“We’re a part of nature. As we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves. It’s a selfish thing to want to protect nature.” — Yvon Chouinard

“There is a beginning and end to all life — and to all human endeavors. Species evolve and die off. Empires rise, then break apart. Businesses grow, then fold. There are no exceptions. I’m OK with all that. Yet it pains me to bear witness to the sixth great extinction, where we humans are directly responsible for the extirpation of so many wonderful creatures and invaluable indigenous cultures. It saddens me to observe the plight of our own species; we appear to be incapable of solving our problems.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Everything we personally own that’s made, sold, shipped, stored, cleaned, and ultimately thrown away does some environmental harm every step of the way, harm that we’re either directly responsible for or is done on our behalf.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Traveling is my form of self-education. Every stream I fish now is not as good as it used to be. If you keep your eyes open as you travel around, you realize we are destroying this planet.”
— Yvon Chouinard 

About Business

“The secret to happiness is to be working at your passion. If you want to be miserable, lead a desperate life like everybody else where they drag their asses to work every day because they hate their job.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“The secret to happiness is to be working at your passion. If you want to be miserable, lead a desperate life like everybody else where they drag their asses to work every day because they hate their job.” — Yvon Chouinard

“It’s always been difficult for us to lead an examined life as a corporation. I’ve always felt like a company has the responsibility to not wait for the government to tell it what to do or to wait for the consumer to tell it what to do, but as soon as it finds out it’s doing something wrong, stop doing it.”
— Yvon Chouinard 

“The whole purpose of an adventure is to gain some spiritual or emotional insight. When you compromise the process, you compromise the gain.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“The whole purpose of an adventure is to gain some spiritual or emotional insight. When you compromise the process, you compromise the gain.” — Yvon Chouinard

“Who are businesses really responsible to? Their customers? Shareholders? Employees? We would argue that it’s none of the above. Fundamentally, businesses are responsible to their resource base. Without a healthy environment, there are no shareholders, no employees, no customers, and no business.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Doing risk sports had taught me another important lesson — never exceed your limits. You push the envelope and you live for those moments when you’re right on the edge, but you don’t go over. You have to be true to yourself; you have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means. The same is true for a business. The sooner a company tries to be what it is not, the sooner it tries to ‘have it all,’ the sooner it will die.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Hiring people with diverse backgrounds brings in a flexibility of thought and openness to new ways of doing things, as opposed to hiring clones from business schools who have been taught a codified way of doing business.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“I think risk is important. I don’t care if it’s a great financial risk or a physical risk. You only get out of something what you put into it and the fact that you are willing to risk something means that you are going to get a lot more out of it.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“I think risk is important. I don’t care if it’s a great financial risk or a physical risk. You only get out of something what you put into it and the fact that you are willing to risk something means that you are going to get a lot more out of it.” — Yvon Chouinard

“When I die and go to hell, the devil is going to make me the marketing director for a cola company. I’ll be in charge of trying to sell a product that no one needs, is identical to its competition, and can’t be sold on its merits. I’d be competing head-on in the cola wars, on price, distribution, advertising, and promotion, which would indeed be hell for me. Remember, I’m the kid who couldn’t play competitive games. I’d much rather design and sell products so good and unique that they have no competition.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Everything we make pollutes. The most responsible thing we can do is to make each product as well as we know how so it lasts as long as possible.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Everything we make pollutes. The most responsible thing we can do is to make each product as well as we know how so it lasts as long as possible.” — Yvon Chouinard

“There’s no such thing as sustainability. There are just levels of it. It’s a process, not a real goal. All you can do is work toward it. There’s no such thing as any sustainable economy. The only thing I know that’s even close to sustainable economic activity would be organic farming on a very small scale or hunting and gathering on a very small scale. And manufacturing, you end up with way more waste than you end up with finished product. It’s totally unsustainable. It’s just the way it is.”
— Yvon Chouinard

About Adventure

“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.” — Yvon Chouinard

“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong — that’s when adventure starts”
— Yvon Chouinard

“Surfing and climbing are both useless sports. You get to be conquistadors of the useless. You climb to the summit and there is nothing there. And you could hike to the top from another direction. How you get there is the important part. It’s the same with surfing.”
— Yvon Chouinard

About Simple Living

“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life; it’s so easy to make it complex.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life; it’s so easy to make it complex.” — Yvon Chouinard

“Going back to a simpler life based on living by sufficiency rather than excess is not a step backward. Rather, returning to a simpler way allows us to regain our dignity, puts us in touch with the land, and makes us value human contact again.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“I drive old cars, all my Patagonia clothes are years and years old, I hardly have anything new. I try to lead a very simple life. I am not a consumer of anything. And I much prefer sleeping on somebody’s floor than in a motel room.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“There’s a movement for simplifying your life: purchase less stuff, own a few things that are very high quality that last a long time, and that are multifunctional.”
— Yvon Chouinard 

“We’re not citizens anymore. We’re consumers. That’s what we’re called. It’s just like being an alcoholic and being in denial that you’re an alcoholic. We’re in denial that each and every one of us is the problem. And until we face up to that, nothing’s going to happen.”
— Yvon Chouinard

More Sayings

“The solution maybe for a lot of the world’s problems is to turn around and take a forward step. You can’t just keep trying to make a flawed system work.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“The solution maybe for a lot of the world’s problems is to turn around and take a forward step. You can’t just keep trying to make a flawed system work.” — Yvon Chouinard

“Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
— Yvon Chouinard

“The revolution starts at the bottom.”
— Yvon Chouinard

Featured image created in collaboration with DALL·E 2 AI.

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May 24, 2022 11:00 AM
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