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Symposium: The Island as a Carbon-Neutral Province? Making the Case

Institute of Island Studies-hosted event will discuss making PEI the first carbon-neutral province, Oct. 26
| Events

The Institute of Island Studies will host a public symposium to examine the idea of turning Prince Edward Island into Canada’s first carbon-neutral province. This public event will be Thursday, October 26 at 7 pm in the Alex H. MacKinnon Auditorium, room 242 of UPEI’s Don and Marion McDougall Hall.

With so much in the news about monster hurricanes and other unusually severe weather events, people are becoming more concerned about the long-term impact of climate change. And so we ask ourselves what can be done about it; and also, how can we, on our own island, provide a model of positive action for elsewhere.

The title of this symposium is “Making the Case for the Island as a Carbon-Neutral Province.” The event is sponsored by UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies, in conjunction with UPEI Research Services and the UPEI Climate Research Lab.

The principal speaker will be Dr. Catherine Potvin, a professor at McGill University and associate staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. In the wake of the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference on Confederation, Dr. Potvin was selected as one of 23 women visionaries for the future of Canada. She leads the group Sustainable Canada Dialogues, a voluntary initiative that mobilizes over 80 researchers from every province, with sustainability being at the heart of their research programs. The objective of Sustainable Canada Dialogues is to identify actions designed to have large, viable impacts to help Canadian governments at all levels to make thoughtful and ambitious commitments to greenhouse-gas emission reductions. Though the scale of the global challenge is enormous, more individuals, communities, industries, and governments are stepping up to the task.

Dr. Potvin will be joined by Mr. Bob Ashley, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Summerside. The city has implemented a number of initiatives, including generating its own electricity. His talk, “Summerside’s Renewable Energy Quest,” will illustrate the critical value of a community-owned electric utility as an instrument of public energy policy. Other initiatives include storage for intermittent generation, such as wind and solar, building a fleet of electric vehicles, implementing a “living lab” program, and a “smarter homes” initiative.

Dr. Jim Randall, the Chair of the Institute of Island Studies and UNESCO Co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, will speak about the experiences and challenges of other small islands of the world in their quest to achieve a version of carbon-neutrality. An economic and social geographer by training, Dr. Randall is a professor in Island Studies and co-ordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies program.

The Symposium will be chaired by Dr. Adam Fenech, director of the UPEI Climate Research Lab.

Members of the public are cordially invited to attend. Admission is free. Following the presentations, there will be ample time for discussion and questions from the floor.

For more information, contact Laurie at the Institute of Island Studies at 902-894-2881 or

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island. 


Dave Atkinson
Research Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications
(902) 620-5117

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