Kristine McDivitt Tompkins made history earlier this year when she completed what is said to be the largest ever transfer of land from a private entity to a government.

In a ceremony in Chile with President Michelle Bachelet at her side, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins formally handed over 1 million acres of land of while President Bachelet designated 9 million more acres to create vast new national parks.

This created areas of protected wilderness about the size of Switzerland.

That ceremony was the culmination of decades of work by Kristine and her late husband Doug Tompkins. Kristine was the longtime CEO of the outdoor apparel company Patagonia. Doug, who died in a kayaking accident in 2015, was the co-founder of the clothing companies North Face and Esprit. Together, the created the non-profit Tompkins Conservation.

In this conversation, Kristine Tompkins discusses the origins of her work as a conversationist and as a pioneer of corporate social responsibility. She also describes the process of creating wilderness areas in partnerships with governments.

We caught up while she was in New York to receive an award from the United Nations Environment Program.

Among other things, this is an interesting conversation about the impact of philanthropy in global affairs and conservationism.

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