Solar panels being installed in Alderville First Nation.

Solar panels being installed in Alderville First Nation.

By Joey Krackle

The federal/provincial and territorial environment ministers met in Ottawa Jan.30 in order to “take stock” of the challenge of reducing carbon emissions and bringing the country one step closer to a national strategy to combat climate change.

They looked at the gap in greenhouse gas emission targets and prepared for the First Ministers meeting scheduled for early March to craft a national climate change strategy.

Many First Nations in the Anishinabek territory have already taken steps in producing green energy as a way to combat climate change.

Chief Wayne McQuabbie says his community Henvey Inlet First Nation partnered with a private company to build the largest wind farm on a First Nation in Canada.

“This is a major development in the field of green energy in Canada which will directly benefit our membership and the economy of the surrounding region,” says McQuabbie. “We look forward to construction, operation and a promising future. We hope our project will inspire other First Nations and all Canadians to take further steps to develop a greener planet in this time of climate change.”

Alderville First Nation has developed the first 100% First Nation-owned solar farm in Canada. Anishinabek Southeast Regional Grand Chief Marsden says they are proud of Alderville’s renewable energy project.

“Our renewable energy project will bring a sustainable revenue stream to our community,” says Chief Marsden.  “At the same time, this project will allow this community to contribute to Canada’s economy now and in the future.”

Currently, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have taken steps to address climate change while Alberta and Saskatchewan are experiencing challenges due to their high energy economies. Senior environmental officials stated that Indigenous Canadians would be included as part of this conversation.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde attended the COP21 Climate Change Conference and emphasized that First Nations practice environmental stewardship.

“Indigenous people could help shape Canada’s environmental policies and guide society’s move toward renewable energy and green technology, which are in tune with indigenous philosophies of caring for the earth,” says Chief Bellegarde