Looking back on 2019

I think 2019 was our busiest year ever at the EcoSociety. Here’s a look back at what we accomplished together with our staff, volunteers, members, donors and supporters.

  • Six local governments signed-on to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 for all energy-use sectors community-wide. Volunteers worked hard so that over 10,500 people and 108 businesses support the clean energy transition. So much support was felt that New Denver and Rossland said yes in January, Silverton in June, Castlegar in November, Warfield and Kaslo in December. Wow! They joined Slocan, Nelson and the Regional District of Central Kootenay who had passed resolutions for 100% renewable energy in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In 2020, we are proud to be supporting the volunteers and all of the 9 committed West Kootenay local governments in developing a West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy transition plan. We’ll also be developing a playbook for other communities to learn from our Renewable Kootenays campaign and join the transition. The West Kootenays can be the model for rural sustainable living in the transition to 100% renewable energy.
  • We opened the second ever EcoSociety office in downtown Trail to serve as a community hub for people who care about healthy & safe community, strong economy, clean energy and pristine wilderness. Our volunteers in Trail were so busy doing the good work that we won the Trail Business of the Year Award. People power gives me hope and we’re looking forward to working with our volunteers to connect in new ways with residents of the Lower Columbia and build momentum around David Suzuki’s visit to Trail in May 2020.
  • The oldest trees in our region’s Inland Temperate Rainforest are not safe. We launched our protecting old growth forests campaign where we organized a guided trail walk in the 100 Acre Wood old growth forest near Rossland, and educated thousands of people about the important species at risk in this old forest, like wolverine and caribou, in partnership with Yellowstone to Yukon. Next year, we hope to host more guided hikes in trails that go through old growth forest across the region.
  • Volunteers completed 50 free installations in the homes of Nelson and area seniors, in addition to helping 20 seniors get subsidized home energy assessments through the regional district’s Energy Efficiency Program. Seniors have consistently rated the Senior’s Energy Efficiency Program 5/5, and are thrilled with the results. We are excited to continue the program into 2020, and extending the goal to include 200 homes. This program was done in partnership with Nelson Hydro’s EcoSave Program.
  • We organized over 40 farmers’ markets this year to connect local people with farmers and artisans. Through the BC Farmers’ Market coupon program $25,000 of produce was distributed to low income families and seniors in Nelson. This revenue went directly local farmers. We are happy to support this program in 2020 and get healthy, local and low-carbon food from farms to the tables of people who need support.
  • In celebration of EcoSociety’s founding in 1994, we kicked-off our Resilience Fund. The Resilience Fund will allow us together to take on the biggest challenges of the coming decade where everything is at stake. If you haven’t made your donation yet, please make a gift right now to celebrate your legacy and your homegrown EcoSociety’s 25th anniversary.

Me and the EcoSociety team already see 2020 shaping up to be even busier than this year. That’s why we need you to join us to make the change we all need from right here in your own backyard. Volunteer with your local EcoSociety team, become an EcoSociety member or get in touch to find out how else you can be part of healthier, safer and stronger community surrounded by West Kootenay wilderness.

— Montana Burgess is EcoSociety’s Executive Director