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News from Ecotrust Canada

Today I met a man born in an igloo.

Even more inspiring is the fact that this gentleman was, in his beautiful Inuktitut language, leading a discussion on wind power because the diesel fuel currently burned in his village is expensive, polluting, and unsustainable in light of the climate change these northern communities are already experiencing. It was a remarkable reminder of how quickly our world is changing.

You might think that a day spent in the company of an Inuit elder chatting about igloos and windmills and the costs of diesel fuel is an unusual kind of day, but at Ecotrust Canada we have them more often than not. Our work regularly finds us collaborating with communities on practical solutions designed to improve the social, cultural, financial, and environmental fabric of people’s lives.


Our work starts with listening and trust-building to create a shared understanding of the challenges faced by communities and industries as a result of our current economic model – a model that relies on globalization, corporate consolidation, industrial scale resource extraction, and the pursuit of GDP growth.

We then collaborate to develop and test innovative new models that help rethink local economic approaches – how resources are used; how value is added; how community members effectively play leadership roles in development; how the community becomes the primary recipient of the benefits created; and how critical ecosystems are protected.

Because we know that proof-of-possibility is a critical element in all social change, the staff and Board of Ecotrust Canada are excited to see that the way we work – knitting the red threads of economic, environmental and community development together to achieve improved lives and livelihoods, is now being recognized and replicated by others, as well as rewarded in the marketplace.


Designing alternative economic approaches is engaging, challenging, complex, and wonderful work.

In Nunavik last month, in temperatures of -40 degrees with icicles hanging from our noses, Devlin and I helped a local entrepreneur to build a small seafood processing plant that will supply healthy, local foods to a community currently importing 80% of what they eat.

Last week, Amanda and the Fisheries team worked with fishermen and environmental and funding organizations in Maine to plan electronic monitoring services for their groundfish fleet next season. 

This week Chas and Yuval with our Knowledge Systems team are in northern Ontario, working with industry, government, and First Nations to create spatial plans that show how blueberries, mushrooms, and birch syrup can be harvested alongside timber to improve the economic and employment prospects in that region.


We know that economies can be designed to better serve people in the places they call ‘home.

We are entirely devoted to bringing the best possible technical advice and professional support to local efforts aimed at rethinking both local and system-level development. Your support will help us do more of this work and to create blueprints for others to follow. This holiday season, we hope you will include including Ecotrust Canada in your giving plans.


Wishing you all the best for the holiday season and for 2015.