RCE Saskatchewan conference puts the focus on local sustainability

Guests and delegates pose for a photo outside the E.A. Rawlinson Centre following the RCE Saskatchewan sustainability conference in Prince Albert. -- Photo by Jill Forrester

Prince Albert and area residents had a chance to show of the latest locally developed sustainability innovations as part of the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development in Saskatchewan conference at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre.

The event honoured 34 unique Saskatchewan projects that help meet the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. RCE Saskatchewan co-coordinator Roger Petry said it’s encouraging to see so many locally developed solutions.

“Saskatchewan is doing so much, and a lot of people are doing this on the side of their desks,” Petry said. “They know there’s a certain urgency to trying out new things, but sustainable development when you actually do it is actually fun. It’s enjoyable. It’s finally scratching that itch.”

The Conservation Learning Centre (CLC) headlined the list of projects, receiving the Excellence in Education for Sustainable Development in the Community Award.

The centre is located just south of Prince Albert. Petry said organizations like the CLC are vital to helping students understand the importance of sustainability, and he’s hopeful the RCE can be a bridge that helps more schools connect with local innovations.

“People know there’s innovative ways we can do things here that work with our prairie ecosystems that work with our local cultures, that build on our existing livelihoods, but also tweak them so they exist with other livelihoods, and do place-based production,” he explained. “We really haven’t tapped into the potential of this place, and that’s the exciting part. Saskatchewan is and can be a global leader in sustainable development.”

The 34 projects recognized was a record for the RCE conference, which travels to a new city in Saskatchewan every year. Petry said he appreciates the Prince Albert Historical Society, who spearheaded the Prince Albert event, and helped bring more attention to local sustainability projects.

“We’re investing in people so that they can take the long term actions that sustain themselves now but enables people in the future rather than depleting natural resources and so on,” Petry said.

The event also saw Prairie Sky School in Regina honoured with the Lyle Benko Future Generations Award for its ‘Miciwina sakahk: food forest’ project. Luther College at the University of Regina also received the Dr. Garth Pickard Award for Post-Secondary Excellence in Education for Sustainable Development for ‘Project Heart’.