Making an actionable change in your community can often seem impossible in the current political climate, but Cowichan Crew founder Sierra Robinson and current crew leader Katia Bannister, along with their fellow Canadian Earth Guardian’s Crews have shown how accessible this change can really be! The Crew in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island was able to accomplish so much great work in February due to their dedication & creative strategies to approaching innovation in their community. Seeing their amazing progress gives up inspiration and we hope that it will do the same for you!
Last month, the Cowichan Crew was able to
- Plan for their Climate Strike on April 3rd (Due to COVID-19 this strike has been postponed)
- Get involved with the city council, the mayor, & other community members
- Raise money to support the Wet’suet’en
- Work with the head of CityRepair to implement Permaculture in their community
- Organize a group call with five different Canadian based Crews in order to connect and stay updated on the progress that fellow crews are making
The Cowichan Earth Guardians Crew is composed of 15 youth whose ages range from 13-18. These 15 members meet once each week for two hours to accomplish their important tasks. The crew is also adamant about recruiting new, passionate members. Thus, they are implementing a new section of the crew to involve youth age 9-13. These members will meet once a week for an hour starting in April and will be led by an older Crew member. They understood that nothing substantial would get done if they did not meet to discuss progress and plans on a regular basis. During the four meetings that took place this month, the Cowichan Crew began designing their mural template for World Bee Day on May 20th (currently postponed due to COVID-19). They started planning months in advance in order to ensure that the project was completed on time & would have a large impact on their community! Planning ahead is such an important part of organizing because without a well thought out way to achieve your goals, chances are they won’t come to fruition. Thanks to strategic planning and time commitment, the Cowichan Crew has made tremendous progress at the beginning of 2020.
Another thing they were able to accomplish during their three meetings was planning a community climate strike. In order to have a successful climate strike Sierra, Katia & their Crew brainstormed promotional strategies that would raise awareness of the strike & encourage more community members to join. Since their climate strike & mural for World Bee Day were relatively large endeavors, the Cowichan Crew members had to step up their involvement.
Their achievements don’t stop there; the Cowichan Crew was able to work with the mayor, Al Siebring, & the head of CityRepair, Mark Lakeman, to implement an entire redesign of the city based on the principles of Permaculture. This is a monumental accomplishment because Permaculture has the power to drastically alter the way humans interact with nature on a daily basis. Permaculture is a process of creative design in which designers and engineers attempt to mimic patterns and relationships that are found in nature. The most interesting and outstanding part about Permaculture is that it can be applied to all aspects of human living, like agriculture, building and construction, technology, education, and even the economy! Permaculture is an idea that is growing in popularity because it will allow us to solve the considerable problems we face in a world that will require us to use fewer resources. We can’t wait to see the immense change the Earth Guardian’s Cowichan Crew is able to effect with this project!
Permaculture has been thriving in the Cowichan Valley for the last decade thanks to O.U.R. Ecovillage, Permaculture B.C., & Cowichan Green Community. These entities have helped to educate locals about what permaculture is as well as implementing it within the community. Permaculture has had such a tremendous impact on the local community, that some have begun implementing permaculture practices on their own. After becoming a permaculture teacher in 2016, Sierra started her own permaculture farm. Sierra follows three ethical principles that pertain to permaculture, they are: Care for the Earth, Care for the Inhabitants, & Care for the Future.
One of the great things about the Earth Guardians Cowichan Crew is that they are well informed on current climate news. This is essential to anyone who is passionate about improving the climate crisis. By staying up-to-date with new movements and achievements of other climate groups, they are able to help support those movements and spread awareness of the climate crisis as a whole. Knowing about the injustice that the Wet’suet’en people face and their determination to protect their land, the Earth Guardians Cowichan Crew set up solidarity events in order to raise awareness and money to protect Wet-suet’en land from pipeline development. Since Wet-suet-en land is located in British Columbia, this issue was close to the Cowichan Crew’s hearts!
With all of the great work they are doing, we wanted to give them a special shout out and encourage other crews, and people who have yet to join crews, to participate in their community and encourage positive social and environmental change! No one is too small to make a substantial change in their community and no change is too small to make a difference in global culture. Every community member who is able to improve their sustainability can encourage more and more people and communities to take similar actions, allowing these important ideas to spread and flourish!
As Sierra from the Cowichan Crew points out, by “making lots of connections in our communities and learning skills to collaborate” one can create “effective events and actions” that change the culture around the climate crisis in their community.
Hopefully, their stories of success can inspire you to take action and help you envision the tremendous possibilities for change in your community. To help fund the Cowichan Crews phenomenal work you can reach out to their Instagram account or Facebook accounts to get involved & donate!