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Our map to build back better

Given the urgent and all-encompassing crises unfolding around us, the question being asked across civil society and of non-governmental organization’s like Ecotrust Canada is, “how will your organization pivot to respond?” Our answer is simple ­— we don’t need to change course to respond to these critical times, we just need to do more of what we do. We need to redouble the effort to fulfill our mission of building an economy that provides for life.

Allow me to break down our mission statement to clarify what we mean:

When we say an economy needs to provide for a healthy and resilient natural environment, we mean an economy needs to be specifically designed to end the climate crisis and restore ecosystem health.

When we say an economy needs to provide for sustainable and abundant energy, food, and housing, we mean that all people must have equitable access to that which sustains us, and which we need to survive and thrive.

When we say an economy needs to provide for prosperous and meaningful livelihoods, we mean that all people ought to have full and fair access to work that pays the bills while also fulfilling more fundamental personal, spiritual, and emotional needs of life.

And finally, when we say an economy needs to provide for vibrant cultures and inclusive societies, we mean that an economy needs to cultivate and safeguard communities that thrive specifically because they are diverse, accepting, inclusive, and just.

Some may wonder why an organization like Ecotrust Canada would have so many components to its mission, and I’ll admit, when we are hip deep in our work, burning the candle at both ends, we sometimes wonder too. Nonetheless, for 25 years we have always understood that this is a package deal — you can’t have environmental justice, without social justice, and vice versa. The answer to creating new, workable, thriving economic alternatives is to understand how all these attributes — environment, sustenance, shelter, energy, work, culture — are intertwined and connected.

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Chuck Rumsey, CEO and President, Ecotrust Canada