Reaching out while staying in

Garden view. Photo: John Webber

Toward a world built on justice, collaboration and compassion

It’s almost inconceivable to me that it is May and that we are at the end of our seventh week of physical isolation. Like you, I am learning how to live with uncertainty and managing my feelings of loss from a world that changed without warning.

I feel fortunate to have work that gives me purpose, and during these weeks of adjustment that purpose has become even more focused on caring for our team and our community. Each member of our staff now finds themselves working from home, distributed across the Island and on the Mainland. Ironically, the physical distancing requirements have in some ways increased our connection to each other. We video chat regularly, checking in to provide support to each other both personally and professionally through this difficult time.

The reason I’m writing today is to let you know that everyone at GSA is well and healthy, but also to let you know that we are thinking of you.

I hope you are safe and well, having found the support you need at this time. I also hope you have found a way to gain solace and peace in nature, whether in forests, or parks, near a river or the Strait of Georgia we all love.

As we work to stay connected to each other within the organization, as well as to our partners and volunteers, it is equally important to stay connected with you. You may have noticed that we’ve been trying to do that more and more in the last few weeks through activities like our online coffee break and dance party! We’ve always known that connecting is key to community and though we can’t do it in person, our creativity is coming out to do it online – I hope you can join us.

There is more to say that the written word can convey, so I invite you to stay connected with me in another way – by watching this personal video.

While we are focusing on connecting with everyone, we want you to also know that our work to protect the Strait, its adjoining waters and communities continues.

What also has our focus right now?

  • Our team participated in the first ever virtual Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference last week, including chairing and moderating sessions. If how scientists, academics, organizations and governments in WA and BC are taking a transboundary approach to addressing threats and opportunities in the Salish Sea is of interest to you, I encourage you to check out the Conference sessions, now available digitally to all.
  • We’re in the final planning stages of launching Orca Month in June – stay tuned for the many ways you can celebrate and learn about the orcas that mean so much to us
  • And, we’re re-focusing our climate emergency efforts to deepen our work at a provincial level to gain strong climate policy and build local effort to better protect our communities from the impacts of climate change

We are also taking an active role in re-imagining what our region will look like post-pandemic. We’ve been advocating for needed support from the government to ensure that groups like ours are strong when we get to the other side of this storm. We’ve also joined other charities and non-profits working with the province on building a greener and more just future. We will be here to represent the interests of a healthy Strait and its communities, as we take this opportunity to change our economy and our society for the better.

We hope that in the days and months ahead you will stick with us – join us for our online gatherings, read the stories we share via email or social media, or take action to ensure industry and government keep the health of this local ocean we love in mind even as we continue to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

GSA has weathered many storms, and though this one has some unique elements, we will survive this one – with your help. Stick with us, and we’ll come out strong on the other side. You are an important part of our community – you are Georgia Strait Alliance – and we need you now more than ever.

Video and photos by John Webber

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