News & Updates
July 1, 2020
Executive Director Update – July 2020
Today marks the beginning of our new 2020-21 fiscal year- and what a year this past one has been! We have achieved much. And we are grateful to be able to shift quickly enough during a global pandemic to continue our mission of whole systems job training for public agencies and private companies- and to offer our services and qualification trainings online. We increased our support of businesses, and will be expanding activities over the next months. Our FY 2020-21 Schedule will be out soon, so stay tuned.
Three months ago, we could not have imagined how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect our lives. No one could have imagined the resulting damage to the economy. The priority globally is to attempt to limit the economic impact of the pandemic crisis still unfolding in front of us. State reopening plans continue to be in flux. Even with economies taking their first tentative steps to start up after the lockdown, we cannot afford to lose sight of the importance of doing all we can to fight climate change and stop environmental degradation. The droughts, the floods, the fires, the famine, the refugees, biodiversity loss – all these challenges have not gone away. On the contrary, the situation is expected to worsen in the near future. For example, as countries ease restrictions, emissions levels have rebounded to just 5% lower than last year at this time, and experts warn that we could be facing increased emissions by year’s end.
That is why our response to the pandemic should be not to rebuild the old economy, but to use this momentum to start building a new economy that is more equitable, accessible, regenerative and “green.” We must do all we can to reverse the next crisis looming on the horizon.
COVID-19 has illuminated the broad gaps in equity, healthcare and food access, economic injustice and resilience and more. We are witnessing that those at the front lines of the struggle for climate justice are battling disproportionately high rates of infection from Covid-19 while facing heightened risks of violence and illness from the extractive industries. This serves to rededicate us to our vision of a more diverse future for ecosystems and the people who are part of them. From human health to climate change to systems that degrade people and soil alike, we know more than ever that our challenges and solutions are fundamentally interlinked. And so, the work of Rescape continues with more urgency than ever. We are doubling down on workforce development, and addressing communities who lack access and opportunity.
The landscaping industry is one of the major economic sectors that could provide particularly strong returns in terms of both rebooting economies, creating jobs and advancing climate goals. Industrial agriculture and food production is the second biggest contributor of global carbon emissions behind the energy industry.[i] Coronavirus-triggered job loss constitutes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recast all aspects of our infrastructure and regenerative land use. Green jobs address both the ecology/climate change AND drive recovery for the economy. This is the opportunity for us to build local resilience: energy preparedness, local healthy food security, community water and energy safety, address inequality and enhance a thriving and prosperous community.
“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down. What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?” -Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the US – 1933-1945
Warmly and with gratitude,
Milena Fiore, Executive Director