On June 29, 2021, Lytton BC tipped over 49.6° C, and this small, rural, Canadian town was suddenly one of the hottest places on the planet. Twenty-four hours later — the town was gone, razed to the ground by wildfire. It is difficult to imagine a clearer signal that our world is becoming more unpredictable, and if we do not change course quickly, more unliveable. Nonetheless, despite the tragic examples of upheaval that typified the year, I’m grateful that our work at Ecotrust Canada always gave me reason to hope.
In the face of so much uncertainty, we responded by focusing on groundwork. We turned toward real people, doing real projects on-the-ground (and at sea) in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities across Canada. It was particularly heartening to see that for every emerging global crisis people were responding locally by making the places they call home more resilient. With our community partners, we stepped up to help improve home energy and food security; we supported community planning for healthier, more culturally-informed, sustainable homes; we shared our expertise with coastal communities seeking to better manage their marine resources; and, we created the tools necessary to protect and manage forests for community benefit while battling climate change.
This was also a year for us to get our own house in order. We gathered our resources, improved our financial position, streamlined our programs, tied up older projects, built new staff capacity, and solidified our partnerships. We are getting ready for the next big push for Ecotrust Canada because we know the road ahead is difficult.
Fortunately, we also know that we are not alone, and that across Canada, governments, companies, public institutions, and communities are waking up to the emergency unfolding in front of us. At Ecotrust Canada, we are especially lucky that every day we work side-by-side with people deeply committed to making the communities they call home healthier, more vibrant, and more sustainable. We got through 2021 together, and by partnering with all of you we have the courage to press urgently forward in building an economy that provides for life.