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Editorial: 㽶Ƶ Island is essentially a net-minus carbon region

㽶Ƶ Island is well known for its clean waters, green vistas and welcoming atmosphere. It is also a region that can boast a bountiful agricultural community and for all intents and purposes is one of the most net-zero destinations in Canada, given the low environmental impact of the wind, solar and hydro energy produced here and the energy they collectively produce.

Love them or hate them, the wind turbines that festoon part of the Island’s skyline produce a whopping 60 megawatts of energy. By the most conservative estimate that amount of energy will power 24,000 homes—the upper end of the scale would suggest closer to 54,000 homes. That doesn’t even include the impact of the numerous solar panels on local farms and houses or the power generated by the hydro plant in Kagawong. When it comes to being green, you don’t get much better than the Island. We are not just net-neutral, we are full on net minus.

Oddly, little is done to market that aspect of 㽶Ƶ. Perhaps that can be linked to the controversy and opposition that accompanied the arrival of the large-scale wind farm operation atop McLean’s Mountain. Not to mince words, but it is time we all got over it. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, as the old saw goes, and we have in our green cred some pretty tasty beverage indeed when it comes to marketing our region in a time of climate crisis.

Entrepreneurs like Maja Mielonen and her partner Guy Nielen are taking the green path and leveraging low-impact tourism to go the extra mile and beyond. It is long past time that we, as a collective community, should be celebrating and trumpeting our net-minus status.

When it comes to enhancing and promoting reconciliation with Indigenous communities, it gets even better. The McLean’s Wind Farm is actually majority-owned by Island First Nations (along with M’Chigeeng’s ‘Joe and Susan’ standing sentinel on the bluffs above that community—the brainchild of former M’Chigeeng Ogimaa Joe Hare baa) as is one of the premier accommodations facilities, the 㽶Ƶ Hotel and Conference Centre.

With a powwow taking place on the Island nearly every weekend throughout the summer, 㽶Ƶ First Nations provide a welcoming and accessible opportunity to learn more and explore Indigenous culture. Add to that the work of the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation and Debajehmujig Storytellers and there are very few, if any, better places to do so. The upcoming Weengushk International Film Festival also highlights this region as a place to discover Indigenous feature films and documentaries from across the globe.

In plain point of fact, it isn’t just all Indigenous culture and traditions on display, Island First Nations are among the most progressive and economically vibrant in the country and are looked upon by other communities when it comes to “best practices” both in revitalizing and strengthening language and culture and economic development—“in a good way.”

㽶Ƶ has so very much to offer the world, but although many have “heard” of us, too many do not know where we are or what we have to offer. 

We need to build an organization that brings these messages to the world.

㽶Ƶ Publishing Co. works tirelessly (don’t tell that to the production crew) to promote the Island through our tourism lure publication ‘This is 㽶Ƶ’ (with 60,000 plus copies distributed to locations across the province and beyond), and the tourist aid ‘㽶Ƶ’s Magazine’ that truly assists visitors in knowing what is happening on 㽶Ƶ in any given summer week. But 㽶Ƶ residents and visitors can help by ensuring that they spread the word and support those efforts being made to do so.

We have much to offer the world as a net-minus carbon destination where reconciliation is not just a bunch of high-sounding words.

Let’s get to it.

Article written by

Expositor Staff
Expositor Staff
Published online by The 㽶Ƶ Expositor web staff