Chief Wilbert Marshall and Chief Executive Officer Lindsay Marshall of Potlotek First Nations are working on an ambitious plan to put Potlotek on the Green map! And they don’t plan to stop there. They intend to share their green vision with other Mi’kmaq communities and build their capacity to export their services and expertise.

The winds of change are blowing in Potlotek! In an effort to harvest wind energy, a testing project is underway to analyze the wind regime. If suitable wind exists, they intend to develop a First Nation wind farm to offset use of fossil fuels and earn revenue from Greenhouse Gas credits under the Kyoto Accord.

37The Chapel Island Community Waste Collection Service provides garbage service for the community while employing aboriginal band members. It has the capacity to take full responsibility for this service for its community and hopes to provide the service for a fee to others. Potlotek has also conducted a study to establish a Compost Plant that will create new full-time jobs for band members.

In an effort to minimize the amount of waste going to landfill and lower tipping fees, a Waste Diversion Demonstration and Education Project will design educational programs for the community. It will demonstrate the most environmentally friendly practices in waste management as a model to other communities and transfer this knowledge to other Unama’ki Mi’kmaq leaders and staff.

The goal of the Chapel Island Mission Health Protection Plan is to design a system to minimize risks from lack of drinking water and handling of sewage and solid waste on Chapel Island. Traditional knowledge will be sought from elders about cultural history to identify special places which must be protected. New features for drinking water, sewage, and waste removal will be designed to be almost invisible and not conflict with use of the site.

Potlotek is developing a plan for climate change that will document the historical status of the natural environment in Potlotek by interviewing community elders and those close to the land. An ongoing community monitoring system will be designed to record changes in wildlife, vegetation, watercourse flows, and natural productivity of the land and waters.

There have been many advances in building trades and Potlotek is taking the best of these to build homes in a Model Energy Efficient Subdivision. This year they intend to build new homes that will minimize future energy costs while reducing fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. A Potlotek band member was trained to carry out building energy audits and compiled and reviewed data on existing energy consumption, found opportunities for conservation and renewable energy, and estimated greenhouse gas reduction amounts and credits.

Gone are the days of dirty, environmentally unfriendly gas stations. Potlotek intends to build a new, green gas bar, grocery store, and gaming facility, while creating new full-time jobs for band members to operate them. In addition to state-of-the-art construction, the gas bar will also provide biodiesel, an environmentally friendly fuel alternative.

Potlotek is turning green!

From UINR Marten – Vol.2. Issue.1 – Spring 2006