First Nations have maintained sophisticated laws to govern their territories since time immemorial and now these values power the modern day energy sector in B.C.
By the end of 2016, 30 First Nations had operational solar, run-of-river, geothermal, wind, and biomass projects powering their communities and the province. These community-based projects are creating 1863 MW of power. Up to 32 Nations have clean energy projects in their development stages and 15 under construction.
First Nations’ environmental leadership has not gone unnoticed by those looking for a greener and more sustainable future.
At the 15th annual clean energy conference last week, Jae Mather, executive director of Clean Energy B.C. (CEBC) noted an unprecedented political willingness to work with Indigenous Nations. Mather spent over ten years in Europe and when he returned, he was pleasantly shocked to be in the room with “right-wing conservative government members talking openly about partnerships with First Nations.”
“Climate change is nothing else, but the absolute failure of our management systems,” Mather said, opening a full-day course on Advancing Indigenous Opportunities in Clean Energy. It is nonsensical, to erode the natural systems that feed us, he said, echoing Indigenous scientific thought.
In a survey by CEBC and the University of Victoria, 98 per cent of the 150 First Nations respondents, about half the First Nations in the province, advocated for more partnerships in the clean energy sector. Clean energy, which is about supporting the local economy, protecting the environment and harvesting resources in a sustainable way, “aligns with First Nations values,” Mather said.
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Observer Media Group. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/12/04/news/first-nations-powering-bc