This is my inaugural column for CowichanValley.org, and I am writing it in the homeland of the Quw’utsun peoples (Cowichan Tribes First Nation). I am grateful to Cody Wicks for approaching me to write periodic columns on issues affecting all beings who rely on a healthy Quw’utsun (Cowichan) Valley to survive and thrive. I plan to write about Quw’utsun Valley issues and solutions from an intersectional perspective (that is from a broad-based perspective where human rights, Indigenous rights, ecology, environmental and social justice all intersect and where each impacts the other). However much of what I will write about will likely be about Duncan because it is where I live (I don’t drive, which means I spend a lot of time working and living here and so I feel my ability to write about topics I plan to explore is directly related to what I am witnessing and experiencing in the world immediately around me).

I felt it important to write this initial piece on the heels of the latest release of the global report on climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These reports have become an essential barometer on how well or how badly our civilization is doing in the era of the climate crisis. This report focused on climate change in relation to land use and food security. These topics are BIG matters globally and we face them here in the Valley on a day-to-day basis as the area continues to develop in the face of climate change impacts. We are very fortunate to live in a fertile region, where a sustainable food system is within reach. However, with successive droughts and increasing temperatures in the region, poverty and homelessness and addiction, we are feeling the pressures here and so all is not well.

Yet, I believe because we are bounded geographically by the valley, because we have such richness in the soil at our finger tips, because there is such a profoundly deep and powerful Indigenous presence with great possibilities for true reconciliation, and because there are so many people who truly care about the land and their fellow humans and other beings, we are well placed to tackle these issues locally and regionally with open hearts and minds.

I look forward to sharing more with you as we move together through this journey.

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