Green Jobs – Renewable

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– This is Ian. And this is Desmond. But we’ll get to him in a minute. Ian always knew that, if he
wanted to survive the bust, he needed to be preparing during the boom. That’s why he helped start a
renewable retraining program for oil and gas workers, which brought him here,
to his newest project. A project that changed
how he saw everything. We met up with Ian in the
heart of that project. A school that shows future
generations first-hand the potential of a new industry
to talk about an old one, looking for a new start. Here on Renewable. – To break into the
renewable energy industry whether you’re installing wind turbines or putting up solar panels or
working in any other form of renewable energy, all you need is just a little bit of extra training. I’ve been an electrician for
about a little over 20 years, I guess, in the oil and gas industry. And I’ve worked with concrete, like, I’ve built a Tim
Horton’s and Lubexes and things like that, when there was no work as an electrician. So, it’s been up and down. – Ian has seen it all. First hand, he’s watched
the boom and bust, the fluctuations of job security. That’s what sparked him and a
group of fellow tradespeople to start Iron and Earth. – So, Iron and Earth is essentially a worker-led organization that is hoping to empower oil and gas
workers and indigenous people to work in the renewable energy economy. So, if you are a tradesperson in Alberta, if there’s a downward spiral
in the oil and gas sector for a period of time, and you’re trained to work in renewables, you can
easily make that transition. Because if you think of the
amount of roofs in the province with no solar on them, whether
they be a commercial roof or industrial roof or
a residential whatever, there’s a lot of opportunity
to do work in this field. – Which brings us here, to a community an hour
outside of Edmonton, and the home of Iron and
Earth’s latest project. To a community that has
embraced renewable energy with a way of thinking unique
to their cultural identity. It’s where we meet Desmond. – My name is Desmond Bull. We’re on the Louis Bull
Tribe, Kisipatnahk. We’re at the Kisipatnahk
School, K to grade 9. This is the last building
we have in my community that actually needs a renewable
components added to it. So talking with Iron and Earth, we’re working on a proposal right now. We know what we want. We want to do solar,
but we want to diversify what we also want to do in a building and what we’re teaching. So we definitely look at
some mini wind turbines. We definitely want to
consider some geothermal, some charging stations,
some battery storage. You know, something that diversifies, you know, how we’re cultivating energy and how we’re using energy. But also we want to
put, within a building, displays to show to the community members or students that are walking by this is how much energy
this thing is producing. This thing is how much energy
is gonna save us on a week. You know So kids are aware that this is gonna be keeping the building functioning. – For Desmond, the
school project is as much about education as it is about energy. New technology and ideas are inspiring, and it’s his hope that spending
their time in a building in part powered by this
tech will inspire the kids in his community to take part
in the renewable industry. But, to look at a community where every single public
building is in some way taking advantage of renewables,
you can’t help but wonder, what sparked this deep
belief in this field? – Well, in First Nation communities, and especially mine within Cree culture, there’s an understanding
that things follow through a cycle and a cycle follows
every seven generations. Right now, we’re at our seventh generation from the first signing of
the Treaty back in 1876. So, that was that first generation and we’re at our seventh right now. So, we’re beginning a new
cycle, and that new cycle is very evident about how First Nations are getting more involved. Environmental issues,
environmental concerns, making sure that we as
First Nations people at the seventh generation
started looking much further for the next seven generations. If I can create something
such as a PV solar system on a building that might last 50 years, you know that’s something
that speaks volumes in regards to, you know,
what I want to try to do to show that energy efficiency
practice and sustainabilities can be achieved easily within this time. – Working together, collaborating to create something
sustainable and impactful for everybody involved. We wrapped up with Ian and
Desmond with a question about how this idea scales. How do we move forward
embracing the lessons that they learned, as a
province and as a people? – I think it’s good to diversify. I think we shouldn’t be a
one-trick pony here in Alberta. And I think that if we
focused on other options, we could avoid the boom and bust cycle that Albertans are so used to
in the oil and gas industries. – For me, it falls into
that understanding. You know, you see it right on the school when you walk in the building. We are all Treaty people. You know, it’s that understanding that we all signed a Treaty. as Canadian citizens and
as First Nation people. And if you read the Treaty, you know, it does outline in
there in so much a sense that we necessarily gotta
take care of each other, take care of the lands,
take care of the resources. And that’s to ensure future generations have something to flourish.

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