Respectfully submitted by Chris Alemany – AVTT President
This was a hard year. I must start this report with condolences. Condolences for everyone that we have lost all around this world during the pandemic. Condolences for everyone we have lost closer to home to the pandemic, and the ongoing opioid crisis that has taken too many dear friends, family and colleagues.
And most of all, my thoughts at this moment go to our dear Edna Cox survived by her husband Dave. Alberni Valley Transition Town Society would not have been — without her. This will be our first AGM since her passing. We will hopefully be filling her role on our Board as Secretary, but Edna brought so much to this organization. So much to the Food Group, to forest and watershed issues that she was passionate about, to climate action and to all manner of things around our community. All done with kindness and positivity and hope.
Please pause for a moment to remember Edna and everyone we have lost in this most difficult of 21 months since our last AGM.
Transitioning during a Pandemic
It is difficult to believe that we did actually have an Annual General Meeting in January of 2020 just days before it became clear that the world was entering into something it had not experienced for 100 years.
Here we are, in the 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our group has struggled to maintain itself, just as many people, businesses and organizations have as well.
But, our work did not stop. The issues we have been committed to for these past 11 years of climate change, and energy transition and resilience have not stopped.
We have all remained committed to raising the profile of climate change and energy transition, food security and local resilience, and transportation and governance. We’ve even expanded with the new relationship with Surfrider in Tofino, Amber Stroeder at the Aquarium, and all the new faces at the Ocean Plastics group.
The Alberni Climate Action group has been doing incredible work with our local elected officials, city staff and provincial and federal representatives.
So even though we may have all gotten stuck in our basements, or at our kitchen tables, or in our own minds a little bit, as we dealt with the isolation of health restrictions. We all still remained engaged, thoughtful and working.
We have all learned a new technology called Zoom, or Teams, or Skype or whatever else you happen to be using to stay connected digitally if not in person. And in this I want to thank Char for her incredible hospitality and innovation that has allowed us to keep meeting and even augment our meetings by recording them and posting them on Youtube.
I don’t know if anyone has watched them or would ever want to watch them. But I think there is some utility there, and at the very least, there will be a permanent video record of this group and the people in it. And for that I am extremely grateful to Char.
Thank you all for your work in these unprecedented times.
Learning from the Pandemic – Looking ahead
We have learned many things as individuals and as a society during this pandemic. I believe we have learned key lessons and strategies that, in time, we will use as we tackle climate change and our ongoing and quickening transition to a renewable energy and more resilient economy.
Emergency Situations Demand Emergency Action – Climate Action
March 2020 was a turning point for all of us, but especially for Western democracies at all levels of government as they realized that they would have to shut the economy and much of society down in order to protect human life. If that what it will take to protect human, and all other life as we know on this planet?
It was not just about shutting the economy down, it was about wholesale, rapid, and complete change to address a crisis. We have not seen this kind of change and disruption on such a broad level, since World War II.
It is my belief, that there will come a time in the next 10 years when we will face the same turning point on climate action. We have all tried to make a difference at Transition Towns, and we will continue trying. We have made a difference. But I think we can all accept that our own actions in Port Alberni will not move the needle nationally, or globally.
That national and global action, will come in one of 2 ways; popular unrest, or weather related catastrophe. It may even be a combination of both. When that moment comes: You and I, may be at the forefront demanding action, or we may be reacting to a catastrophe. Either way, I am sure that everyone reading or listening to this report will feel a responsibility to contribute. Transition Towns is about helping communities and we saw our community come together through the pandemic and help one another.
So when the time comes, all our experience of the preceding years of activism, policy making, and community building… but especially, hopefulness, kindness, and optimism will be critical in ensuring the success of the rapid transition that will occur to save ourselves from our own climate catastrophe.
In the meantime, we will continue on Transitioning our beautiful little part of the world so that hopefully, when the Big Transition happens maybe our community will be a little closer to the desired outcome.
Thank you everyone for continuing on this journey of Transition.
With sincere positivity and gratitude,