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Moon over water in beautiful British Columbia

A look ahead into our 2021 projects

Moon over water in beautiful British Columbia

Innovating credible alternative economic systems with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities

In 2021, Ecotrust Canada will continue innovating credible alternative economic systems with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in Canada. By working together we can navigate and eventually emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable economy.

Read below to learn more about what each of our programs are working toward as we forge ahead into building a better future.

Climate Innovation

The climate team continues its work on three key initiatives — i) community action, ii) the Forest Carbon Economy Fund, and iii) Blockchain for Climate. Our community action work with Wahkohtowin is focused on developing the Missinaibi Community Forest Project and communicating Indigenous leadership on Natural Climate Solutions. The Forest Carbon Economy Fund website will be launched in February, framing our proposed methodology for a procurement pathway, and registry for the federal government to fund Natural Climate Solutions and create real, provable carbon emissions reductions. Our work on Blockchain for Climate will continue development on our first iteration of a blockchain platform to enable issuance and exchange of Paris-compliant carbon credits.

A notable addition to our community action work — we are expanding our program to include Natural Climate Solutions projects in the Northwest Territories. We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to be working on many profound climate innovation initiatives that will be realized this year.

Indigenous Home-Lands

We will continue along the path of supporting Indigenous partners in building self-determined housing systems within their territories. Having successfully completed our first Housing Solutions Lab workshop in December of 2020, we are moving into the new year with momentum, and we look forward to carrying out a series of workshops with our strategic partners, Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the Tŝilhqot’in National Government. This month, we will also be publishing a first of its kind Housing Eco-system Overview and Strategy Development report, created with our partner Yuneŝit’in First Nation. Throughout 2021, we will work closely with the Yuneŝit’in government to follow through with some of the recommended strategy actions within the report.

We will also move ahead with a focus on Indigenous forestry by supporting partners with value-added forestry processes, including developing more integrated housing supply chains — from forest to frame. Finally, we are very excited to be initiating our work on developing innovations in Indigenous land tenure with the hope of opening up the range of options available to Indigenous Nations seeking to create economic and housing opportunities without compromising their own laws and values.

Community Fisheries

Our three-pronged approach to revitalizing BC’s coastal economy continues with work in i) fisheries policy change, ii) monitoring and management, and iii) illegal, underreported and unregulated fishing.

This month, the UFAWU-Unifor hosted a two-day virtual conference [https://www.thenorthernview.com/news/b-c-commercial-salmon-fishermen-discuss-cures-for-an-industry-on-the-brink/] “The Future of BC Commercial Salmon Fishing”. We facilitated this conference and joined active fishermen’s associations to produce key recommendations for DFO to save the commercial wild salmon fleet. Stay tuned for the resulting report and recommendations.

Announced last year, the Ghost Gear Initiative is already underway as we take surveys and collect data to clean up marine debris in the Hecate Strait. This work is taking place alongside our partners the Area A Crab Association, T. Buck Suzuki, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

In 2021, we will continue to provide dockside observer services for the Ha’oom Fisheries Society, in support of Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Hesquiaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations in the implementation of their commercial rights-based fisheries. In Prince Rupert, we are providing electronic monitoring and biosampling for Area A Crab Association.

In policy work, to ensure the benefits derived from independent fish harvesters are going back into coastal communities, we are maintaining our long-standing policy work with the Federal and Provincial governments. This year, we are reaching out to the new BC Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Fin Donnelly, to engage the Province in taking a bigger role in managing a more vibrant BC fishing economy.

In our fisheries investigative work, we’re kicking off a new project titled Ending illegal fishing: from shareholder to retailer, an expansion of the online Spyglass platform [https://spyglass.fish/], looking into how illegal fishing is connected to some ownership and shareholders. Learn more about this initiative, which was recently featured in a National Observer article on food security.

Community Energy

In 2021, we continue to grow our work advancing efficiency retrofits with rural and Indigenous community partners, and building our research and policy engagement activities toward our vision of energy security for all. Our active community partners this year include the Regional District of Mount Waddington, Heiltsuk, Quatsino, and ‘Namgis First Nations. We will work with each of these communities to leverage available funding, including resources recently confirmed by the Province and Federal government, and advance deep retrofit projects that can effectively address the root causes of energy poverty.

On the policy and research side of this initiative, we will push back against planned cancellations of supportive programs like the Customer Crisis Fund, and proactively advocate for an electricity system that is more just and better aligned with our climate goals. We will also be publishing new research on how the province can best advance retrofit projects with low-income households across BC.

Northwest Food Systems Initiative

2021 is the inaugural year for the Northwest Food Systems Initiative, which will be anchored around three projects — i) launch an urban demonstration farm in downtown Prince Rupert, ii) development of Restorative Ocean Farming opportunities on the North Coast, and iii) building out a northwest food distribution network. The urban farm will revitalize vacant property in the downtown core and will act as an inclusive space for community members to gather and learn about food security. The farm will be focused on improving food insecurity within the community, while demonstrating the feasibility of a diverse array of growing options in Prince Rupert — something that is often underestimated.

The Restorative Ocean Farming project will be aimed at piloting a multi-species aquaculture with zero inputs once seeded in the ocean. This form of aquaculture would also clean and regenerate the waters around it as it grows. We are forming a meaningful working partnership with Metlakatla to ensure this pilot project is inclusive, culturally appropriate, and improves food security for Metlakatla members and beyond.

While individual food production programs are much needed, it’s equally important that we find ways to create pathways for collective impact in support of food security. We believe that in creating a northwest food trade network we can facilitate the movement of local food products between communities, increasing food accessibility, and expanding markets for growers and producers.

Proving the Possible

Ecotrust Canada is an enterprising charity that works with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities toward building an economy that provides for a healthy and resilient natural environment; sustainable and abundant energy, food, and housing; prosperous and meaningful livelihoods; vibrant cultures and inclusive societies. With your support, we’ll continue to create real, tangible solutions with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities that integrate environmental and social well-being.

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