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Northerners recognized for efforts in sustainability

AJ Esquega and Autumn Peltier named to national Clean50 list
AJ Esquega and Autumn Peltier have been recognized as emerging leaders on the national Clean50 list for their efforts toward sustainability.

Two Northern Ontarians have been recognized as emerging leaders for achievements in their efforts toward sustainability.

AJ Esquega of Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay First Nation), north of Thunder Bay, and Autumn Peltier of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island have been named to the national Clean50 list, which recognizes “outstanding contributions to clean capitalism.”

The initiative was created in 2011 by the Delta Management Group, a staffing firm with a focus on ‘green’ professionals, including experts in corporate governance, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), clean tech, corporate responsibility, renewable energy and sustainability professionals.

As the coordinator for the Giizis Energy project, AJ Esquega served as liaison during the development of a fully integrated solar-diesel-microgrid system created to offset 30 per cent of the community’s diesel fuel use.

The initiative, which is 100 per cent owned by Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek, was a collaborative effort between the community, Ontario Power Generation, HydroOne Remotes, AllTrades Contractors, ABB, and other partners.

Esquega led communications between the community, project partners, collaborators, industry, funders, and various levels of government, while keeping the community informed of the project’s progress.

As of April 6, 2021,Giizis Energy had avoided more than 340 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and more than 106,000 litres of diesel fuel.

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Autumn Peltier is a Water Warrior, gaining national and international recognition for her call to protect water sources and access to clean, safe water by Indigenous communities in Canada.

Peltier was inspired to take up the cause at eight years old, mentored by her great auntie, Josephine Mandamin.

A world-renowned water advocate known as 'Grandmother Water Walker,' Mandamin annually walked around the Great Lakes to raise awareness about water pollution in the Great Lakes and in Indigenous communities.

Peltier was named Chief Water Commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation in 2019, and has used her platform to educate and spread awareness about the resource.

A full list of the Clean50 recipients is available here.