Renewable energy group seeks to reach wider audience

Matt
Matt Gardner
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Since its formation in 2009, Renewable Power -- The Intelligent Choice (RPIC) has been at the forefront of the fight for sustainable energy in Prince Albert and area.

Renewable Power -- The Intelligent Choice (RPIC) core committee member Murdine McCreath facilitates Monday’s meeting at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library as fellow RPIC member Steve Lawrence listens.

But even as it has raised awareness of environmental issues, the group remains concerned about how to spread its message to a wider audience beyond the committed activists who often turn out to events.

“The problem with environmental issues is you keep talking to people that are already interested,” core committee member Murdine McCreath said.

“But how do you raise the consciousness of people in the community? That’s the issue.”

Speaking prior to a Monday RPIC meeting at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, McCreath shed some light on the group’s outreach strategy.

RPIC, she noted, tries to tailor events to a more general audience in order to avoid merely preaching to the choir.

“We’re aware that that happens quite often,” McCreath said. “So we’re trying to think of how to make an attractive presentation.

“But also probably the key thing would be to ask people, ‘What do you need to know? What do you want to know? What would be helpful to you?’ So those things, I think, we like to take some time to decide.”

One concern she said RPIC shares with other activist organizations such as the Council of Canadians is how to attract younger generations to the cause.

“We’re a group of … people who have done this our whole adult lives,” McCreath said. “We’ve always taken on issues, but how do we engage young people?”

As RPIC members began to plan out their spring agenda at Monday’s meeting, the group’s partnership with the Council of Canadians illustrated how such organizations are pooling their resources to attract the widest possible audience.

In the coming months, RPIC plans to throw its support behind the Council’s planned activities for World Water Day and Earth Day, which take place respectively on March 22 and April 22.

“There’s a lot of overlap in members,” McCreath noted of RPIC and the Council of Canadians.

The problem with environmental issues is you keep talking to people that are already interested. But how do you raise the consciousness of people in the community? Murdine McCreath

Another group that RPIC has close ties to is the Committee for Future Generations, with local activist Crystal Frenette being a member of both organizations.

Last Wednesday, Frenette travelled to Creighton alongside fellow RPIC member Bryan Lee, Committee for Future Generations members Candyce Paul and Marius Paul, renewable energy consultant Mark Bigland-Pritchard and others to offer a presentation on the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s planned use of the community as a nuclear waste storage site.

“We ended up going to the library, the public library in Flin Flon and it was really well-attended,” Frenette said.

“It was packed,” she added. “We could have used another room, actually -- a lot of discussion.”

In tackling the nuclear waste issue, RPIC plans to continue its efforts to reach out to communities throughout the surrounding area.

“The communities are so far spread out and it’s hard to get to everybody … It was four hours for us to drive there and I think there’s more people going to be asked to come back to the community and have different sessions in the smaller communities around Creighton,” Frenette said.

Despite their outreach efforts, the heart of RPIC remains the core of committed volunteers who turn out at the group’s regular meetings and continue to educate themselves on the issues.

“We’re a stable group,” McCreath said. “We’re enthusiastic, we keep our core, we like each other, we like figuring out what to do and educating ourselves.

“That’s why we have our portable library,” she added. “We’re never finished making sure that our own information is solid.”

Additional information is available at www.rpic.ca.

Organizations: John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, Committee for Future Generations, Nuclear Waste Management Organization

Geographic location: Creighton, Flin Flon

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  • Debbie Mihalicz
    March 13, 2014 - 03:41

    Never underestimate the impact you are having on those who hear what you have to say and see how you live. You're planting seeds which will sprout and flourish at a time unknown to us. Thank you for your leadership; keep up the great work!