Around the world Indigenous peoples are leading the way on innovative projects that are both combating climate change and moving their often underserved and energy poor communities to positions where they can become energy suppliers, energy self-sufficient and acknowledged experts in renewable energy technologies.
For example, between June and November 2022, a massive solar project came online in southern Alberta, Canada. The project is a joint venture between Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and Concord Green Energy and the more than 236,000 modules will provide energy for around 10,000 Alberta homes. ACFN is also working towards completing battery storage at the project which “will capture about 26 GWh of electricity annually increasing the renewable energy benefits of the project”.
Another example is the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe’s efforts to accelerate its “transition to a zero-carbon community, for its economic, environmental, health, and overall resilience benefits” which have been ongoing since 2002. In 2018 the tribe achieved their goal of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions and were able to keep power flowing to their communities in California in 2020 and 2021 when an overburdened grid meant many other places were without power. The tribe has a goal of being net zero by 2030.
If you are living in a city or town far from Indigenous communities you may wonder why these initiatives matter to you. They do because they serve as inspirational examples of what is possible when groups come together with a vision.
Is there a climate-focused group in your community that you can join? Or perhaps even start?