Blankets and Solar Panels
By James Davis, Education Program Manager
Spring has arrived in full force here on Vancouver Island! I hope you’re getting some sunny days in whichever part of the province you live. Things are rolling along here in the Education Program, with just over four weeks of workshops before we wrap things up for the school year.
I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I recently had to participate in a blanket exercise with other Sierra Club BC staff, and members of our board. The exercise was an adapted version of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise and was facilitated by board members Valine Crist and Jackie Larkin. It was a profound experience for me and I highly recommend taking the time to find out about similar offerings in your area and participating in one.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned about many aspects of the damaging history of colonialism and of the terrible impacts on Indigenous communities across Turtle Island, but hearing about them all together in the space of a couple of hours was staggering and made me realize how much work we have to do as settlers to heal broken relationships with Indigenous communities and move forward in a good way.
I’ve also been inspired yet again by the leadership that many First Nations communities are showing not only by protecting their territories from damaging resource extraction projects, but also in demonstrating alternatives to heavy dependence on fossil fuels. Check out this video about how the Skidegate Band Council on Haida Gwaii installed the largest community-owned solar project in British Columbia.
Another Indigenous group that are blazing a solar path are the Tiny House Warriors, who are building a series of tiny houses to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline from passing through unceded Secwepemc Territory. They have already installed solar panels on some of the houses with support from Lubicon Solar and are working towards solarizing all of them.
Here in Coast Salish territory, the T’Sou-ke Nation has an impressive solar program with their own huge array, solar hot water heaters, and a conservation program. You can find out more here or join one of the tours that our friends over at the Wilderness Committee organize from time to time, including this Saturday.
I hope these examples and the sunny days ahead will inspire you to think about how you can commit to supporting renewable energy projects in your community!
P.S. To learn more about clean energy initiatives in BC, check out Sierra Club BC’s podcast. Don’t miss Episode 4: First Nations Leading the Way.
Feature image by Brynne Morrice.