While the world’s attention is, quite rightly directed at how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Ecotrust Canada are focused on the necessary steps to follow — recovery and rebuilding. Indeed, the push toward recovery is already triggering dramatic government action and immense shifts in private and public spending. However, will the imperative to rebuild end up re-entrenching the very economic system that has just failed us so spectacularly? Are we on a path to recreate “business-as-usual” — a fragile, unsustainable, and inequitable economy, prone to failure and collapse?
At Ecotrust Canada we believe the time is now to introduce bold, new, economic alternatives. Rather than retreating to a failed status quo, we have the opportunity to build an economy that is more localized and thus more resilient. It is time to create an economy that provides for, and prioritizes, abundant and affordable food, energy and housing; meaningful livelihoods; vibrant cultures; and a healthy natural environment. We call this approach — building an economy that provides for life.
How would we begin such a transformation? Let’s start by stopping the concentration of public and private investment for recovery in the hands of those few at the centre of power. Instead, let’s focus investment on-the-ground, in community, where it would have the most direct impact on improving people’s lives. Let’s go a step further by pushing resources, ideas, and innovation away from the centre toward the outer edges, specifically Canada’s rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. And as Ecotrust Canada has learned by working with people in these places, this isn’t simply about piling on more financial resources, it’s also about distributing information, authority, and capacity for decision-making, so that local people have the tools and power they need to innovate and create economic solutions for themselves.
For 25 years Ecotrust Canada has been working with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities to test and develop these kinds of alternative economic solutions. Through the generosity of our partners we have learned that there is an economic relationship between people and the land that supersedes “the market,” and we have learned that in the connection between people and place there is a wellspring of economic resilience. The time has come to give these alternative economic approaches room to breathe, and ground in which to take root — across rural and urban geographies alike, for the benefit of us all.
Never has there been a more important moment for Ecotrust Canada’s mission and our practical, on-the-ground approach to creating a more resilient future for people and planet. Please join us today and support us through GivingTuesdayNow on May 5.