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Pine Nuts: Stepping Up in Style

McAvoy Layne

Generosity will soon become coin of the realm in the saving of our planet, and it will come in the prototype of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who recently announced he and his family are giving away their $3 billion outdoor-apparel company to fight climate change. Oh, and to make this magnanimous contribution to our society, Chouinard will also pay $17 million in taxes.

I would like to shake this man’s hand, take him to lunch at T’s, and give him a copy of Mark Twain’s Roughing It, for making this most memorable corporal announcement perhaps ever: “Earth is now our only shareholder.”  What a man! What a statement! I, for one, stand in awe and admiration.

Mr. Chouinard will be sleeping well for the balance of his life here on this blue ball, for as John Steinbeck reminds, us, “What pillow can a man have like a good conscience?”



Then there is MacKenzie Scott, who has a heart bigger than a breadbasket and a bank account bigger than the state of Maine. MacKenzie is giving her fortune away faster than anybody ever has, around 6 billions a year, to over 500 charitable entities. Were all American billionaires as charitable as MacKenzie, well, we would no longer have hunger or homelessness to worry about in this almost exceptional country of ours.

Mark Twain reminds us, “What keeps a republic on its legs is good citizenship.” American companies are starting to heed the call to become better corporate citizens, and we are happy to see this happen.



Closer to home, the Duffield’s are amazing benefactors to our little village of Incline. Every time I turn a corner something good is happening with their name attached to it.

Then there are stewards who tirelessly give their time toward preserving our history and heritage, like Bill Watson over at Thunderbird Lodge. Wait ‘til you see the museum Bill is going to give us in a year or so. Erich Fromm would be proud: “Giving is the highest expression of our aliveness.”

John Adams averred our Constitution to be, “…the result of good heads prompted by good hearts.” And that’s what we are harkening back to, a country full of good heads prompted by good hearts. So step right up please, you young people, with good heads prompted by good hearts, because the stewards of Mother Earth that I’m talking to today are not getting any younger.

In 1872 Mark Twain published a book, Roughing It, in which he describes a three-week Overland Stagecoach ride from St. Joe to Carson City. Upon arriving at their first waystation, he proffers, “…the table-cloth and napkins had not come–and they were not looking for them, either.” Then in 1965, two US Astronauts, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, read Roughing It aloud to each other, while orbiting the earth to alleviate their own bouts of roughing it aboard a two-week mission in space. I believe it’s time for another adventure, perhaps in combating climate, that calls for another reading of Mark Twain’s Roughing It, as a touchstone, by those hearty 2022 Americans who are roughing it, while moving all of us ahead…

Audio: https://anchor.fm/mcavoy-layne


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