After dealing with three decades of intensive oil, gas, logging, fracking and tar sands exploitation in our homeland, my community of Little Buffalo decided to forge a new future and become powered by the sun.
First Nation communities have been on the front lines of resource extraction for far too long and we have paid the price for humanity’s addiction to oil, but we have hope for a way out of the crisis we are currently facing in Alberta and around the world.
In a community of 500 in northern Alberta, this 20.8 kW solar installation will power the First Nation’s health center, and put additional energy back to the grid. Our community used to be self-sufficient and was able to live off the land. Now the community deals with contaminated water, polluted air and a compromised landscape. In 2011, the community had to deal with one of the largest oil spills in Alberta’s history.
Refusing to be victims in this game of fossil fuel roulette, communities like Little Buffalo are leading the way towards energy independence – making The Leap towards a new future that some of our leading thinkers say everyone else must follow.
Despite being the oil capital of Canada, solar energy is taking off in Alberta. Albertans want to see change, and solar is huge part of making that change happen but we need to demand this change. A just transition needs to happen not only in communities that can afford renewable technology but it must happen and begin in communities facing the brunt of the environmental, social, and health implications from the extractive industry and climate change.
This solar installation was done mostly by community members, who have never installed a solar project before. Now they can use these new skills to install more solar around Alberta.
These types of renewable energy project shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of communities to implement alone. They should be supported by both the Alberta and Canadian governments as we have seen with immense subsidies that have supported the fossil fuel industry for decades.
These solar panels will still be standing even when the last oil project is finished. Don’t you want to be a part of this clean energy future?