Energy as a Builder of Community
Energy touches on all aspects of what it means to be a vibrant community: community health, environmental wellbeing, economic strength, employment, safety, and community identity. Indigenous communities suffer disproportionately from exorbitant energy costs and insecurity and are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Developing Indigenous-led sustainable energy innovations in communities offers opportunities to accelerate local industry, create jobs, and reduce dependence on antiquated social support systems that do not meet communities' needs. It can also unlock opportunities for broader community impact beyond infrastructure, leading to deeper social transformation, independence, and renewed identity in Indigenous communities. Renewable energy, in particular, honours Indigenous communities' sacred connections to their lands while contributing to a country-wide response to climate change.
The Opportunity to Tell a New Story
The role of Canada's First Peoples in our national psyche needs to change. First Peoples should be seen as leaders whose worldviews hold important teachings for Canada’s story. With community green energy, there is a powerful opportunity for Canada's First Peoples to take the lead, not only for their communities to be "beneficiaries", but also to emerge as innovators and agenda-setters in the sector across Canada.
Indigenous community energy empowerment is a systemic challenge, and systemic challenges require systemic solutions. The Energy Circle is needed to deepen, amplify, and scale the impacts of the success stories we already see today by transforming that broader system. There is a powerful opportunity for Canada's Indigenous Peoples to take the lead in this transformation, not only for their communities but also for the clean economy across Canada.