Everyone has a film in which they are willing to suspend their disbelief in exchange for the comfort a certain narrative brings them. Mine was Into the Wild. Since the creation of the movie based off Jon Krakauer’s novel of the same name, countless young folk took to the idea of overthrowing materialism, institutionalism, and any other isms that might stand in the way of so-called freedom. As fresh university grads, much like the protagonist in the movie, my friend Maddy and I made the pilgrimage into the Californian desert, to a patch of the last seemingly ungoverned land in the States, called Slab City.
In 1907, the creation of Jasper National Park initiated legislation to remove any private landowners in the area of the new park. Six well-documented Indigenous families, some who had homesteaded here for over a century, were suddenly deemed squatters, their guns and other means of hunting were confiscated, and the families were forced to leave home. But the resilience of the Mountain Métis people is strong – and their story doesn’t end there.
Hinton, AB, a town of 10, 000, just 45 minutes east of Jasper National Park, has long depended on industries such as coal mining, pulp and sawmill, forestry, and oil and gas. Even as logging for a pipeline breaks up the vista under the prominent mountain face of Roche Miette, something novel is underway. Latitude 53, a project in conjunction with NovusEarth, will combine geothermal energy and aquaponics to provide food and energy security via a sustainable, year-round greenhouse and seafood harvest.