Kean Wong:
Pumalin Park hidden on the northern edge of Chile's Patagonia, comprises 750,000 acres of mostly virgin wilderness.
It's one of the most remote locations on Earth -- a place where the lapping lake waters and grind of glaciers are the only sounds that break the silence. Things changed dramatically last week.

Lava and ash burst into the air with a roar as the Chaiten Volcano erupted.
6,000 people from surrounding towns had to flee.
American millionaire Doug Tompkins once owned the volcano, and now runs a foundation working to protect it.

[Doug Tompkins, Millionaire Benefactor]:
"If it's really serious then we'll have to see what we do. I can't even say what that might be. But the north part of the park and the area where most visitors come to is now at least, at this moment, is in pretty good shape."

Tompkins came to Chile 17 years ago.
At the time, he was the well-known founder of the Esprit clothing label.
He gave the company up however, to move here, buy part of Chaiten Volcano and its surroundings with his own money.
He says he gave up "consumerism" for "conservation", and later donated the land to the Pumalin Foundation.
The effort has since been recognized by the Chilean government.

As an environmentalist, Tompkins is worried about thousands of tons of ash and gas that continue to jet from Chaiten's crater each day.
But Tompkins says the volcano is not the earth's main problem, and changing our daily "green" habits should still be the main concern.

[Doug Tompkins, Millionaire Benefactor]:
"What are we going to do about the climate change affected by out of control development and industrialism. That's the big question. And those impacts, they make this little volcano here look like nothing. All the volcanoes you can imagine going off, some major volcano going of periodically, every 15 years or 100 years, and huge when it blows up, but they are really minor events up against the onslaught of the human project."

The full impact of the volcano will be felt in November, when tourism starts to
pick up.

Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…