Ecotrust (Pacific NW) presentation 2008 – comments

Ecotrust  –  Spencer Beebe

(Note:  Presentation at USA Embassy Wellington, 2008)

The sustainability theme of  the Ecotrust is that bio-regions work.  All the extra energy required for an industrial nation state corporatist economy is not required when the natural resources and organisation of the bio-region are worked with rather than against.  Therefore, a bio-region society/economy can be more competetive (sustainable).    In particular this trust is working in the Pacific northwest region of the Americas (“Salmon Region”) stretching from San Franscisco in the south, northward through Portland, Vancouver, and Alaska, and beyond.

The mode of work of the Ecotrust is to gather information and monitary help and present it to the indigenous peoples of the region who are then in a much better position to compete with industrial capital (ed: global corporations) and rejuvenate and maintain the region sustainably as is their heritage.

Mr Beebe presents his trust as a great success and as a model for other regions.  The most similar situation in terms of need his trust has monitored is the Australian northern region.

I find the most interesting part of his discussion is the use of certain terms.  “Economic growth”, “market”, “core globalization forces”.  (his own term – “reliable prosperity”).    Most Greens, I suspect, would find the terms “market”, “economic growth” and “globalization” so fraught with baggage from the corporate global economy and NZ Rogernomics as to be unhelpful.

I see these terms to be beyond  “baggage” – they have been converted by their proponents so as to say that the only good is maximized profit for a very few mega-rich and the only type of value is a monitary value and as such are intended to convey a meaning of end times, the opposite of sustainability.

Given that, I wonder why Mr Beebe places these terms so prominantly in his publications.  Is he trying to reclaim or reform the meaning of the terms to reflect his message of working with nature?  Or is he trying to stay within the accepted establishment meaning of terms so as to remain within the establishment discussion, similar to those who are willing to use terms such as “nuclear deterrence” or “arms control” in spite of the insane world which they describe?


Richard Keller


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