Happy Earth Day from Prince Edward Island!
Earth Day, April 22nd, is a day to celebrate our accomplishments in sustainability and environmental protection and help encourage further action to help protect our planet.
Environmental sustainability is a necessary priority for a destination like PEI. As an island destination, we are acutely aware of our connection to the land, air and ocean, and the delicate ecosystems that live side-by-side with us. Mi’kmaw, the Indigenous peoples of PEI, know the island as ‘Epekwitk’, meaning “lying in the water” or “cradled in the waves”.
Last year we were proud to have PEI nominated in the top 10 of Canada’s most sustainable meeting destinations at The Sustainable Event Forum’s “Earth Day for Event People” and we are proud to continue to lead the way in this regard. Here are six Earth Day 2022 events and announcements on PEI that we think are worth celebrating:
1. Everyday Islanders can now be Climate Trackers with a new Community Initiative
On Wednesday April 20th 2022, the City of Charlottetown, in partnership with the UPEI School of Climate and Adaptation and the Town of Stratford, announced a brand new citizen-science-based sustainability initiative with exciting potential for our community here on Prince Edward Island.
Community members are invited to register to become Climate Trackers and note their observations related to seasonal changes, weather, plants and wildlife, flooding and more around their home or local neighbourhood on an online web application developed by the UPEI School of Climate and Adaptation. The purpose of this initiative is to collect local climate data so we can better understand the local impacts of climate change. This data will be used to inform local climate science and municipal government climate change adaptation projects.
In addition to this new community project, the UPEI School of Climate and Adaptation also have recently opened the brand-new Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation facility in St. Peters, PEI.
2. Summerside Active Living organizes Waterfront Cleanup of the City by the Sea
This Earth Day, the community in Summerside is getting actively involved in cleaning up their important and gorgeous waterfront after a messy winter. On April 22nd the Active Living Staff will be down at the Summerside Waterfront (Green’s Shore) handing out gloves and garbage bags for volunteers to walk the board walk and pick up any garbage they see.
And as an extra perk, a local favourite, Sunny’s Dairy Bar, will be giving each participant a free ice cream cone after their time slot. Yum!
The City by the Sea has been shining bright in many environmental initiatives for several years now, including a project underway to build a 21-megawatt ground solar farm in Summerside that is expected to be complete in fall of this year.
3. Charlottetown Airport reaching new heights in reducing their carbon footprint
A majority of conference and meeting attendees arrive on our island through air travel, and we are extremely proud to announce that our partners at the Charlottetown Airport Authority have achieved Level 2-Reduction Certification in the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program (ACA).
Their team has worked tirelessly over the last several years to reduce carbon emissions from sources like electricity, furnace oil and gasoline by implementing projects and initiatives like the Carbon Management Plan which outlines their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, including carbon reduction targets.
Congratulations to the Charlottetown Airport on their ongoing effort to reduce their carbon footprint!
4. Delegates this Summer can Cruise the Charlottetown Harbour on North America’s Largest Solar-powered Boat
One of our Meetings & Conventions PEI members are making waves this summer with the launch of solar dinner cruise boat that is rebuilt from a 55-year-old Heritage Vessel from the famous 1967 Montreal Expo!
Ride Solar is a private sector solution to an ongoing government commitment to help reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 as per PEI’s Provincial Energy Strategy 1016/17.
They are a tour and transit system where the batteries of the electric vehicles on both land and water are powered by solar panels. In addition to the launch of their solar dinner cruise/harbour tour boat on June 1st 2022, they also offer a green and active tour option through downtown Charlottetown on their licensed Solar Pedal Bus. Learn more at www.ridesolar.com.
5. Canada’s First Community with Wind-Powered Wastewater Treatment is holding an Earth Week Guided Walk
The Town of Kensington hosted an Earth Week Guided Group Walk on Thursday April 21st to explore and share the environmental assets in their town. Attendees of the walk learned about the local Watershed Group, Green Power Sources, and the beautiful natural trails and green spaces in the area.
Kensington is notable for being the first community in Canada with a wind-powered wastewater utility and the turbine— constructed in 2009— was the first municipally-owned turbine in the province.
In fact, wind power produces about 25% of our province’s electricity, primarily coming from the eight wind farms across the province. The first commercial wind farm in the Maritimes was installed in North Cape, PEI in 2001 by the government-owned PEI Energy Corporation.
6. Prince Edward Island has been plastic-bag-free for nearly 3 years!
That’s right! As of July 2019, the Government of PEI became the first province in Canada to ban the use of all single-use plastic bags.
Business event and conference attendees from off-island are often surprised to find out that it is highly encouraged to bring your own re-usable bag going out shopping for some of our incredible local products in between meetings. Some delegates may even recognize these “I Love PEI” canvas tote bags. These bags are handmade here on PEI and offer a great option for a reusable, local and sustainable option for delegate gift bags.
For more local sustainability initiatives and programs, see the City of Charlottetown’s “Sustainable Living Guide” here