In 2022, Ecotrust Canada is committed to demonstrating on-the-ground, and at sea, practical solutions that cultivate resiliency in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in Canada. Through our initiatives with Indigenous and settler community partners, we’re tackling climate change, building sustainable housing systems, advancing clean energy transitions, strengthening local food security, and providing meaningful livelihoods.
Examples of how we are building an economy that provides for life are explained below under each of our five initiatives. Read to learn more about what we are working toward as we co-create a future that is more equitable, prosperous, vibrant, and sustainable.
In 2022, the Home-Lands team will establish the first of its kind Indigenous Advisory Council to guide our initiative to a responsible and strategic path forward.
We will deepen our partnerships with Indigenous communities developing culturally legitimate housing systems on their Traditional Territories. As the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Tŝilhqot’in National Government, and the Yuneŝit’in First Nation advance their housing goals in 2022, we will support their ongoing work, as we aim to connect with more First Nations groups looking to transform their own housing ecosystems.
This year, we’re returning to the roots of our initiative by supporting small-scale forestry programs — a forest-to-frame approach — to meet the housing needs of First Nations partners. We’re going deeper into our innovative monitoring and evaluation work by developing case studies of the existing tool with our partners. And, with our innovations in Indigenous land tenure work underway, we will move toward analyzing results to create a homelands and housing governance toolkit that will benefit First Nations looking for alternative solutions to housing beyond the compartmentalized approaches imposed by the Indian Act.
For over 20 years, Ecotrust Canada has worked toward building a sustainable, fair, and vibrant commercial fishery and coastal economy in British Columbia. Our three core approaches are: i) fisheries policy change, ii) monitoring and management, and iii) illegal, underreported, and unregulated fishing.
We’re working closely with the Fisheries for Communities Network to advance the needs of fish harvesters, First Nations, and coastal communities. Together, we’ll push for policy changes that support independent fish harvesters as owner-operators, and that phase out foreign, large corporate, and investor ownership of fishing licences and quota. We’ll seek audiences with federal and provincial policymakers to pursue creating new policies that ensure the benefits of fisheries stay local.
In 2022, we’re providing our dockside observer services to 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’re offering electronic monitoring and biosampling for Area A Crab Association, which represents over 35 boats and 105 fish harvesters. We’ll provide monitoring support for other North Coast fisheries as needed by First Nations and commercial groups.
In our fisheries investigative work, we are updating the Spyglass database, the world’s largest openly public data platform and map of illegal fishing activities. We’re also conducting and publishing peer-reviewed research to deepen our understanding of illegal fishing.
No one should have to choose between heating their home and feeding their family. In 2022, we will advocate for changes to outdated and ineffective policies, including: the mandate for utility regulators that is currently out of step with modern goals of equity, climate justice, and reconciliation; and utility programs for vulnerable households that fail to deliver.
Our on-the-ground retrofit work will transition even more homes over to cleaner, energy efficient systems. We’ll work with the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) community as they make efforts to transition every home over to a heat pump. In Quatsino and ‘Na̲mg̲is First Nations, we’ll support their home energy retrofit programs, and in the Hupačasath and Tla’amin Nations we’ll build new partnerships. In settler communities, we’re developing local energy efficiency financing programs for rural districts and municipalities, including Powell River, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, and Prince Rupert.
In 2022, we are planning to develop a locally based training program for energy advisors in the Central and North Coast of BC. These regions are critically underserved by energy advisors, and we aim to embed local capacity and create new jobs in energy efficiency, while opening access to rebate programs for residents that require EnerGuide assessments.
We’re fired up about our work across our three key initiatives: i) community carbon project development, ii) carbon project capacity building, and iii) Blockchain for Climate.
Our community carbon project development work takes two forms: i) supporting communities to develop carbon offset projects from improved forest management and conservation, and ii) building tools and momentum toward community development of non-offset Natural Climate Solutions projects for programs such as the federal Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund.
Our carbon project capacity building work is focused around supporting Indigenous communities to envision, develop, and communicate prospective carbon projects on their landscape. We are building digital tools to support learning, and guide project development.
Since our launch of the BITMO Platform last year at COP26 in Glasgow, our Blockchain for Climate work is focused on engaging national governments to utilize the platform for issuance and exchange of their Paris Agreement carbon credits as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on the Ethereum blockchain. We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to be working on many profound climate innovation initiatives that will be realized this year.
The Northwest Food Systems Initiative is planning several new projects this year both on land, and in the water, aiming to address food insecurity and increase food sovereignty on Coast Ts’msyen Territories, in Prince Rupert, BC.
The urban farm, Sndoyntga Lax Kx’een ada Maxłaxaała, will expand this season with community growing programs, including the burgeoning school gardens at Roosevelt Elementary School, Conrad Elementary School, and with the existing garden at Charles Hays Secondary School. Another new addition to our work is a regional seed bank in collaboration with Farm to School BC and Young Agrarians. Seed saving is a key strategy in strengthening a regional food network that will trade seeds between communities in the Skeena Region.
The Regenerative Ocean Farming Project is taking a big leap this year. Through a partnership between Metlakatla First Nation, Ecotrust Canada, and GreenWave, the project is piloting its first season of growing kelp in the spring for harvesting! We are excited to test out a few of the many product opportunities for kelp, and to get this delicacy in the hands of community members and local food providers.
Proving the Possible
Ecotrust Canada 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; and vibrant cultures and inclusive societies. We call this approach, building an economy that provides for life.
Thank you for your continued support!