On one gloriously wild and environmentally hopeful ski trip in the Arctic fjords of Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the former director of environmental initiatives at Patagonia in Europe, Mihela Hladin Wolfe, finished a presentation on community solar projects, which had been successfully implemented into small Dutch villages. She explained the opportunity and responsibility of community-engaged activism – and then put me on the spot: “Why not Zoe? Why aren’t we doing community solar in Chamonix?”
Storm skiing and community-engaged activism. Zoe Hart in Norway’s Lofoten Islands on the trip that hatched Chamonix’s community-energy program. Photo: Jelle Mul
A strong, charismatic Slovenian woman with a list of environmental wins on her resume, Mihela has worked throughout Europe, the US and China on finding solutions to climate change, protecting forests, rivers, critical land and marine habitat, and supporting Regenerative Organic agriculture. She’s a mentor and a friend. And I understand there aren’t any nos in her world of environmental action.
Despite the heaviness of her ask, thinking of my kids and our responsibility to future generations, I had no reason to reject her proposition. If governments are and will be too slow, too burdened by politics and at times corrupt, isn’t saying “yes” the only way we can we take back control of our future?