March 23, 2020
I suspect I am not alone in assessing that last week was one of the strangest of my life.
In my many years doing humanitarian response work, there was a principle that was core to our approach: crises often undermine entrenched systems that have been failing communities, and these crises bring opportunities to replace those broken systems with something far better. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 helped end a decades-long civil conflict in Indonesia. The weakness of the military regime in Myanmar became clear in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and I personally witnessed democratic “green shoots” while I was there.
As we navigate our current anxiety and deeply personal challenges, I get hope from the belief that this crisis creates an opportunity for the kind of system change Ecotrust has sought since its founding. It has always been a huge, ambitious vision, and the silver lining of the dark cloud we’re under is that we will have new insight into how we can catalyze major changes in the way we live together. That’s the opportunity.
We will make it through this as an organization. While we need to be smart and measured in managing risk through this crisis, we’re also looking for opportunities to change things for the better. In addition to prioritizing loved ones, my request to our community is to stay open to radical, practical optimism.
In that vein, we’ve been having generative conversations across Ecotrust about how we can adapt our work to better meet the needs of this new near- and mid-term reality. In the coming days and weeks we’ll be looking into our best contribution to food system fixes, analyzing the economic impact of this crisis on communities we work with, workforce development, sharing our platform with voices that need to be heard, and highlighting the inequitable impacts. Check out our first update from the Redd team here.
As we focus on the challenges ahead, we’re leaning into creativity, compassion, and commitment to our people.
March 17, 2020
These are strange, scary days. A pandemic is upon us and people we love will be affected in dire ways. Our economy is decelerating hard, livelihoods are under threat, and existing inequities are growing even more pronounced. Our president, who fails to unify people even in the best of times, shows no sign of bringing the country together in common cause.
And yet amidst all that—in fact, because of that—people are stepping up. In line at the grocery store, in distanced greetings, and even online, I see people being thoughtful, decent, and kind. People thinking beyond themselves and the stuff we mistakenly thought was important.
That spirit—moving together toward a more resilient future, starting here—is what Ecotrust is all about. Awful and costly as coronavirus is, this experience is driving home that we can and must work together to overcome common challenges and transform the systems we have built to sustain us. It’s the same call the climate crisis is making of us at an even greater scale: that we need to work together in new and different ways—in better ways.
In this turbulent time, I wanted to offer stories of resilience, leadership, and connectivity here in our region. Stories that remind us how much we can get done together. I hope these stories uplift you. Let’s keep connected.
Restorative, regenerative practices on the land at Carman Ranch and in the Chimacum Valley.
A model of strong, place-based partnership in Southeast Alaska
A poem from longtime friend, former Ecotruster, and former Oregon Poet Laureate Elizabeth Woody.
Words from our founder of the meaning of home and what it means to stay.