Douglas R. Tompkins

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Douglas R. Tompkins

"A former fashion magnate who co-founded North Face and Esprit, Tompkins was prompted to sell-up after an “epiphany” in the 1980s. He has since devoted his $150m fortune to buying up vast tracts of land in Chile, then Argentina, creating what is now one of the world’s largest privately owned conservation sites...

"In the late 80s, when Esprit was flying high in American fashion Tompkins read George Sessions's and Bill Devall's primer, Deep Ecology: Living As if Nature Mattered, and decided to make a change...

"In 1988 he and several friends bought 1,000 acres of forest in Chile's Lake District. And in 1989 founded the Ira-Hiti Foundation, the name often given to the Deep Ecology Foundation. Then in 1990 he sold his share of Esprit for a reported $150million.

"Miguel Stutzin of the National Committee for the Defence of Fauna and Flora (Chile’s oldest and most organized environmental group): "This kind of philanthropy doesn't exist in Latin America -- giving without getting something in return. And that has created enormous suspicions”." [1]

He is now married to Kristine McDivitt. His first wife was Susie Tompkins Buell.

He produced the DVD The Next Economy: Transitions from Globalization to Eco-localism.

He was "climbing buddies" with the founder of Patagonia.




  • Edward Hume, Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet (HarperCollins, 2009).

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Profile: Douglas Tompkins, New Statesman, accessed October 14, 2008.
  2. Leaders, Apply the Brakes, accessed September 13, 2010.
  3. Advisors, New Economics Institute, accessed December 12, 2011.
  4. Honorary & Life Members, American Alpine Club, accessed October 14, 2008.
  5. Resurgence Magazine, March/April 2009.