This Aboriginal Community Is Launching a Solar Project in the Heart of Canada’s Oil Sands

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The Lubicon Lake Band in Little Buffalo, Alberta, is surrounded by fossil fuel extraction, and the province is lighting up with increasingly intense forest fires. A few years ago, the community experienced one of the largest oil spills in the province's history when 28,000 barrels of crude leaked onto their territory. A month ago, another pipeline burst, spurting 31,500 barrels of bitumen onto a nearby First Nation.

This Aboriginal Community Is Launching a Solar Project in the Heart of Canada’s Oil Sands

Laboucan-Massimo wants to create green jobs and less reliance on fossil fuels, and for her that starts with the community-owned and operated solar project.

Last summer, she began planning the solar project: “We introduced the idea of solar panels coming into the community, and people were interested in having them,” she told VICE News. “You know, this is basically a demonstration of the type of technology that exists in the world now, and that we should be utilizing, instead of solely relying on extractive industries like the tar sands.”

She fundraised with help from her partner’s company, W Dusk Energy, a grant from BullFrog Power, and generous donations from Honor the Earth Foundation and Jane Fonda, who attended the Toronto climate march earlier this summer with Laboucan-Massimo.

“When I told her about the project, I didn’t even ask her, she offered,” Laboucan-Massimo said.

The Lubicon Lake Band in Little Buffalo, Alberta, is surrounded by fossil fuel extraction, and the province is lighting up with increasingly intense forest fires. A few years ago, the community experienced one of the largest oil spills in the province’s history when 28,000 barrels of crude leaked onto their territory. A month ago, another pipeline burst, spurting 31,500 barrels of bitumen onto a nearby First Nation.

 

Read full story at : VICE NEWS

The solar panels will supply electricity to the First Nation's brand new health centre, with excess feeding into the grid. "It's right in the community, so young people can see that we don't just have to generate power and electricity from fossil fuels, that we can power it from the sun."

Along with the solar project, the team plans to hold workshops for elementary and high school kids to educate them on the benefits of renewable energy.

Indigenous communities in northern Alberta used to be self-sufficient, living off the land, Laboucan-Massimo said, but now they rely on social services, and outside sources of food, water and fuel.

Lubicon Cree First Nation estimates that oil companies have extracted $14 billion in resources from their traditional territory, but royalties go to the Alberta government — not to their community.

Laboucan-Massimo wants to create green jobs and less reliance on fossil fuels, and for her that starts with the community-owned and operated solar project.

Last summer, she began planning the solar project: "We introduced the idea of solar panels coming into the community, and people were interested in having them," she told VICE News. "You know, this is basically a demonstration of the type of technology that exists in the world now, and that we should be utilizing, instead of solely relying on extractive industries like the tar sands."

She fundraised with help from her partner's company, W Dusk Energy, a grant from BullFrog Power, and generous donations from Honor the Earth Foundation and Jane Fonda, who attended the Toronto climate march earlier this summer with Laboucan-Massimo.

"When I told her about the project, I didn't even ask her, she offered," Laboucan-Massimo said.

 

 

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