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2003 Annual Report

2003 Annual Report We all know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but nature rarely follows such a path. Taking our cue from nature, Ecotrust aims to rebuild the regional economy based on the environmental characteristics of the land rather than on the straight lines of an industrial model.

Salmon Nation — composed of tribal lands, forestlands, farm and ranchlands, watersheds, the maritime Pacific coast and estuaries, and urban landscapes from Alaska to California — is the place where wild Pacific salmon live. We imagine a region where the citizens who live here take responsibility for improving social, environmental, and economic conditions; a culture shaped by a sense of place and personal accountability for the well-being of the land and its occupants.

Building on this ancient but revolutionary idea is a challenging task. Many powerful forces of globalization are arrayed against it. What used to be local markets for seasonal food, fish and forest products became national — now global — markets in one short generation. The distinctive character of fresh, wild chinook salmon in May, local tomatoes and strawberries in August, the terroir (literally, taste of the soil) of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, clear 4"x12" Douglas fir beams and redcedar siding for fine homes — all are threatened by the sheer volume of commodity products competing on least cost of production terms, produced and distributed by a decreasing number of global giants, and retailed in big box super-stores.

The resulting pattern for citizens throughout Salmon Nation is that the gap between rich and poor is widening, we are using up the land, moving to town, and forfeiting the local ownership, control, and choices inherent in being connected intimately with place. Ecotrust and our affiliates at Ecotrust Canada, ShoreBank Pacific, and Shorebank Enterprise are committed to harnessing the powerful forces of globalization to the advantage of the local. We help farmers, fishers, loggers, small businesses, non-profits, tribes, and local governments obtain better access to information, technology, and capital. We connect producers of environmentally sound goods and services to emerging green markets, and protect and restore ecosystems on a large landscape, watershed scale.

Ecotrust’s 2003 Annual Report highlights our work to build more reliably prosperous communities based on local difference rather than global commonality. This enterprise depends on citizens taking the lead rather than waiting for government to solve our problems. At a time when a keen sense of place and intimate relationship to the land is losing ground to an increasingly divisive national politic, it is refreshing to remember that you can’t gerrymander watersheds. We believe the idea of Salmon Nation has transformative power for the environmental movement generally and offers more hopeful prospects for the people who live here. Our strategy is to get rich slow.

Thank you for your support and your citizenship.

— Robert E. Friedman and Spencer B. Beebe

2003 Annual Report
8½ x 11 inches, 28 pages
Download the 2003 Annual Report (3mb pdf)

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