Dismayed by the Trudeau government’s persistent bafflegab on how Canada will keep its carbon reduction promises while doubling down on tar sands/oil sands production, the David Suzuki Foundation is launching Charged Up, a national program designed to “tell the story of community-led renewable power,” the Vancouver Observer reports.
The program launched with a panel discussion in Vancouver where Miranda Fuller, executive director of Ontario’s Oxford Community Energy Co-op, recalled that anxieties rooted in a lack of knowledge drove early resistance to her organization’s efforts: “People fear what they don’t know,” she said.
But “community response shifted once the turbines of Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm got spinning and started making money,” the Observer notes. Today, the first community-sponsored wind farm in Ontario “generates enough electricity to power over 6,700 homes.”
Chief Patrick Michell of the Kanaka Bar Indian Band near Lytton, British Columbia told participants that “just as First Nations built sustainable economies on their land for thousands of years, today, the band-owned, sustainable Kwoiek Creek power project generates enough electricity to fuel 22,000 homes,” the Observer notes. Charged Up will act as a gathering point for communities “that are not waiting for political leadership to develop self-sufficient, renewable energy projects.”
Those front-line stories are crucial: while “the majority of Canadians support a quick transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” the Observer states, “few of us can actually think of a clean energy project” that is functioning at the community level. That disconnect leaves iconic environmental campaigner David Suzuki to ridicule Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for repeatedly promising to lead on climate change while building more pipelines.
“We won’t make it,” Suzuki said. “That’s just all political doublespeak.”
But “by publicizing how local leaders brought renewable energy projects into their own communities, Suzuki believes Canadians will see that clean energy transitions are happening all around us, without damaging the economy,” the Observer notes. The project will use digital storytelling, social media, and online networking to bring communities together around local renewable energy success stories.