Manitoba is a stunningly beautiful province. I'm biased, of course; I was born and raised here, and have spent the majority of my adult life here. Wherever I've traveled, however, I've never lost my appreciation for the "scale" that the prairies proudly flaunt: one can see as far as their vision will reach, and stand under 360 degrees of sky. Those scales hit you at primitive level - standing in the prairie, lost in near infinite plains below and endless sky above, you can feel viscerally the raw size of the planet. The Earth curves beneath your feet, and you know that the wind buffeting you has traveled lifetimes to get there.
Perspective is fickle, however. A car passing on a nearby highway will quickly invert the sensation of infinity. The size here speaks to vulnerability, too - as huge as this land is, it’s been settled, sown, ploughed, and harvested for generations. This land is fragile and damaged, and facing challenges commensurate with its scale.
Fortunately, the potential is proportionate too: those infinite fields are ripe for transformation into sustainable, organic engines of economic growth. There's a billion acres of functioning carbon sink out here too. And, that endless sky and its howling winds are already spinning turbines in megawatt wind projects.
Manitoba is rich in resources, but more importantly is home to a multitude of ideas and people capable of realizing them. From progressive government policy making, to innovative energy utilities, to pioneering university R&D parks, to garage-inventor chutzpa, the prairies are alive with spirited energy, and ready to rise to their potential.
So - stay tuned. I'll be contributing articles on the challenges, solutions, and people that populate this province. Comments, suggestions, or just "hellos" from prairie people are always welcome!
Photo Credit: Winnipeg blogger Colleen, at http://colleenscorner.com/blog/