Register Sunday | July 21 | 2019

Photo Project: Voices in the Wilderness

One small island in the Salish Sea, 350 people living off-grid. This remote community conjures a certain kind of nostalgia. But the island, whose inhabitants prefer not to have its name published, isn’t just an escapist utopia. The land and people who rely upon it are simultaneously connected and isolated from the modern, mainland world. 

Islanders embrace a countercultural ethos that values autonomy. In the 1970s, they rejected BC Hydro’s attempt to sell power to them, relying instead on alternative energy sources. While traditional currency is exchanged for goods and services, most islanders have also adopted work trades and other types of bartering. Because of its relative isolation, the island is subject to few regulatory restrictions and next to no law enforcement.

Power politics—hierarchies of race, age, and gender—are not left behind on the mainland. Neither is economic disparity, and many residents feel the financial strain ...

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