“We have nothing to fear and nothing to lose.”
Danilo is an ACE Member working with ACE and our partners on exploring the start up of an energy services company (ESCO).
My parents are farmers growing coffee, livestock, cocoa beans, passion-fruit and oranges in Ecuador. We live a sustainable lifestyle and only use the city to buy medicine. Ecuador's system is based in exportation. My parents don't export directly, they sell their production to a factory and the factory transforms the raw materials. Farmers like my parents are victims of the middle-man.
I have a passion for co-ops. I saw a lack of power in farmers when I was growing up. In Ecuador I worked with a farmer's co-op trading products and getting fair deals. When I got involved with ACE, I was just starting to break the language barrier. I had to relearn technical words about alternative energies and green jobs. I already knew the dynamic of grassroots movements in Ecuador—working with ACE I learned the dynamic of grassroots movements in New England.
I would like to help to change the current economic structure because it is excluding and exploiting people. The co-op model is horizontal and shares power. It is about being a family, a community, and there is no super-boss.
What we are doing with the ESCO is empowering workers and communities. We are looking for workers to own the co-op and take positions to own their future. The co-op system will set them up to work in their communities and help each other.
The way that society has been functioning, a group of people with more wealth and power is in control. By creating an ESCO, even though it is just a drop in the ocean, it is like a sustainable little island. If we create a good island, people can live there independently surrounded by the ocean. I know that we can create more islands, even a whole continent. Through the work I am doing, I am hoping to empower people that have been excluded.
Also, the current system is not working, with the housing crisis, financial crisis, car industry, water, food, everything. We will keep failing, because the system is failing. So, if the ESCO doesn't work, it's okay. Because of the system's failure, we have nothing to fear and nothing to lose.