Creating a regenerative economy in N.B.

KEiTH HELMUTH


What kind of economy will New Brunswick have in the new energy future? A renewable energy platform is clearly coming and new energy platforms create new economies. The extraction and refining of hydrocarbons launched a new energy platform, which has created the modern economy and its many benefits. However, the growth of the hydrocarbon economy has now developed to such a scale that it has burst through the safe operating limits of earth’s geochemical and ecological boundaries, with increasingly negative effects. This is an unwelcome thought. We used to think that hydrocarbon energy paved the road to a better life. Up to a point, this idea made sense, but a threshold of reversal has been crossed.

Crossing this threshold means that, from a certain point on, the negative effects of burning hydrocarbons will be greater than the benefits. The danger of these negative effects is now so serious that it has brought almost all national governments on earth into agreement on reducing and limiting carbon emissions.

The message from the Paris climate agreement is clear: the energy platform of the economy must shift from reliance on carbon releasing fuels to a diversity of non-carbon emitting, renewable energy sources.

Fortunately, renewable energy innovators have been at bat, and it now looks like the most important public policy question is how fast this transition can be made without upsetting the apple cart of the economy.

In N.B., we are fortunate that the government has recently announced an excellent program to facilitate this transition -- Locally-Owned Renewable Energy that is Small Scale (LORESS). It’s a small start, but it’s heading in the right direction.

This transition is enormously attractive. We have the tools, materials, and knowledge to create a clean, rapidly growing, and sustainable energy platform. And the clincher is this: the renewable energy platform has the potential to help create a regenerative economy that builds up steady-state prosperity.

What might this mean for N.B.? Currently, the government seems to have one foot firmly on the hydrocarbon dock and the other stepping gingerly into the renewable energy boat. Will government grasp the economic potential of renewable energy and get fully on board?

What comes after the last use of the Energy East pipeline (if built)? What comes after fracked-out shale gas wells (if drilled)? When these projects have faded, and the jobs they created have vanished, what will they have contributed to a sustainable, self-regenerating economy?

The renewable energy industry, on the other hand, is creating a fast growing sector of sustainable, community-based employment.

Statistical analysis shows that for every $1 million invested in the oil and gas industry two jobs are created. For every $1 million invested in renewable energy 15 jobs are created. For every $1 million invested in upgrading the energy efficiency of buildings 14 jobs are created.

(See www.bluegreencanada.ca/more-bang-for-our-buck)

One of the key factors about the shift to renewable energy is that it triggers a new way of thinking about security and prosperity. It shifts thinking about the economy from the extraction of resources to the cultivation and regenerating of resources.

For example, policies that support the expansion of local food production and marketing will help build up a regenerative economy. Can we imagine a N.B. that produces at least 50 per cent of the food it needs?

Likewise, policies for woodlot and Crown land management that improve biodiversity and insure the longterm harvesting of high quality timber would move the forest industry from extraction to regeneration, and help build up a steady-state prosperity for forest-based livelihoods.

Will government catch the opportunity to facilitate a regenerative economy? This depends on whether the smart, renewable energy platform is placed at the centre of the province’s economic development future.

   

Keith Helmuth is a member of the Woodstock Sustainable energy Group

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Action Alerts

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.