Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native America

3,558 views

Published on

Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native America

Published in: Design, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native America

  1. 1. Chapter subject hereSUSTAINABLE TRIBAL EcoNomIES A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native America A PUBLICATION OF HONOR THE EARTH
  2. 2. “We are the Keepers of this Earth. Those are divinely mandated in- structions to us. We are at an incred- ible challenge at this point of our journey. We have been blessed by being Indigenous. What a blessing, and what a responsibility.” — Dr. Henrietta Mann at the Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop, November 2009Honor tHe eartH’s MissionOur mission is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and politi-cal resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, thearts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for thosenot heard.acknowledgMents:Cover Art: Jonathan ThunderResearched and written by Honor the Earth staff and volunteers: Winona LaDuke, Faye Brown, Nellis Kennedy, Tom Reed,Luke Warner and Andrea Keller.Design: Kevin Brown, Smart Set, Inc.Special thanks to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Surdna Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Sol-idago Foundation, Turner Foundation, Carolyn Foundation and the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rockfor funding Honor the Earth’s Energy Justice Initiative and this booklet.Thanks to Reed Aubin, PennElys Goodshield, Bob Gough, Chase Iron Eyes, Kim Knutson, Christopher Reed, and Lisa Ringerfor their contributions to this booklet.Thank you to our Advisory Board, representing the Indigenous Environmental Network and Indigenous Women’s Network,for years of collaboration, commitment and leadership: Charon Asetoyer, Faith Gemmill, Tom Goldtooth, Heather Milton-Lightening and Anne White Hat.
  3. 3. Sustainable Tribal Economies a guide to restoring energy and Food sovereignty in native aMerica a PuBlication oF Honor tHe eartH 2104 Stevens Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 879-7529 info@honorearth.org www.honorearth.org
  4. 4. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaWhy This Booklet?The process of determining our des- and less of our own food and insteadtiny is at the core of our survival as rely upon foods imported from facto-Indigenous peoples. As tribal com- ry farms and monocropped fields farmunities grow and we deepen our away. This is not a sustainable way tostrategies and infrastructure for our live. This booklet is about the processNations, it is essential for us to look of recovering control of these twoat the world’s economic and environ- economies as a way to ensure the sta-mental realities in order to make crit- bility of our tribal communities, ourical decisions about our future. That environments and our cultures.means we must address issues suchas climate change, peak oil and food This booklet explores food and en-insecurity. Food and energy consume ergy issues in tribal communities,huge portions of our tribal economies recognizes their linkages, providesand must be considered in relation to examples of tribal innovation andtribal sovereignty and self-determi- outlines options for tribal communi-nation. ties to create sustainable energy and food economies for this millenniumThis new millennium is a time when and for the generations yet to come.we are facing the joint challenges of In all cases, we are looking at the cre-an industrial food system and a cen- ation of local economies, using the re-tralized energy system, both based sources available to each Indigenouson fossil fuels, and both of which are community. We are hopeful that somedamaging the health of our peoples of these strategies will not only be vi-and the Earth at an alarming rate. In able for tribal self-determination, butthe US— the largest and most ineffi- also, when appropriate, be a possiblecient energy economy in the world— source of export revenues for tribaltribal communities have long sup- communities.plied the raw materials for nuclearand coal plants, huge dam projects, Recovering and restoring local foodand oil and gas development. These and energy production requires aresources have been exploited to conscious transformation and set ofpower far-off cities and towns, while technological and economic leapswe remain in the toxic shadow of for our communities. We must decidetheir lethal pollution and without whether we want to determine ourour own sources of heat or electricity. own future or lease it out for royalties.Our communities have also laid the In the end, developing food and en-groundwork for agriculture on this ergy sovereignty is a means to deter- Art by Camille LaCapa; Border by Starcontinent. Yet today, we produce less mine our own destiny. Wallowing Bull
  5. 5. Table of ContentsSustainable Tribal Economiesa guide to restoring energy and Food sovereignty in native aMericaPart OnetHe Basics oF a sustainaBle econoMy .................................................. 3Part TwocHallenges Facing indigenous coMMunities: tHe urgentneed to Build energy and Food sovereignty ..................................... 7Challenge One: Climate Change ......................................................................................7Challenge Two: Peak Oil ..................................................................................................13Challenge Three: Fuel Poverty ........................................................................................17Challenge Four: Food Insecurity ....................................................................................19False Solutions, “Clean” Coal, Carbon Capture and Sequestration,Nuclear Power, Unsustainable Biofuels .........................................................................23Part ThreeoPPortunities For triBal action .......................................................... 25Part Foursolutions For Building sustainaBle triBal econoMiesSolution One: Energy Efficiency and Conservation......................................................29Solution Two: Renewable Energy ...................................................................................31 Solar Energy ............................................................................................................34 Wind Energy ............................................................................................................39 Micro Hydropower..................................................................................................44 Sustainable Biomass and Biofuels.........................................................................46Solution Three: Restoring Traditional Foods.................................................................51glossary oF terMs ................................................................................... 60sources ....................................................................................................... 63
  6. 6. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaNotes: | 2 |
  7. 7. The Basics of a Sustainable Economy Part One: tHe Basics oF a sustainaBle econoMyBreaking tHe cycle oF have become accustomed to a cycle definition of wealth. We believe thatdePendency where outside sources of cash come restoring a local economy rooted in into the reservation and our cash is our own knowledge as IndigenousAn economy is the creation and dis- spent off-reservation. peoples is essential to revitalizing thetribution of wealth in a community. health and sustainability of our com-Wealth could be in the form of wam- The structure of a dependent econo- munities.pum, corn, energy, or other items, my puts Indigenous communities atsuch as cash. The industrial economy a case For re-localizing risk of constant destabilization andis not the only economy. In fact, the energy and Food often at the mercy of outside forces,cash reliance of an industrial econ- whether those forces are large min- Honor the Earth collaborated withomy is a relatively new addition to ing companies or renewable energy the White Earth Land Recovery Proj-Indigenous economic and trade sys- developers seeking to profit from the ect to perform a study on the Whitetems. Indeed, the fur traders, agency resources of a tribal community, or Earth Reservation analyzing theoffices, annuity payments, trading whether they are unpredictable fed- tribal energy economy while also rec-posts and other cash-based institu- eral allocations. As the US economy ommending an innovative programtions that became so significant in becomes increasingly destabilized of energy efficiency and renewableour post-contact history were ma- as a result of the recession, wartime energy. A separate study was under-jor elements in the unhealthy trans- expenditures, peak oil, and climate taken on the food economy. Theseformation of our economies from change, our tribal economies will studies revealed that approximatelywealthy and self-reliant to poor and face even greater destabilization and 50% of the tribal economy’s money isdependent. more risk. being spent outside the reservation on food and energy. This expenditureTo put it plainly, cash is not essential To become self-sustaining, we need represents a substantial and discon-to an economy. Yet, we have become to break the cycle of dependency. Our certing portion of our tribal income.increasingly cash-dependent in In- people suffer from a history of depen- In fact, it is the largest drain on ourdigenous communities, exchanging dency resulting from the confiscation tribal wealth.labor, natural resources and our gifts of our lands, the General Allotmentof art for cash in order to purchase Act, the stock reduction programs, Dependency at this scale is unhealthy.goods and services. Some of this the mass slaughter of the buffalo, the Native communities, already facingcash wealth is exchanged inside of War on Poverty, the theft and sale of crisis situations of poverty, cannot af-our communities, but a substantially natural resources and other aspects ford this output of money.greater portion is spent outside our of colonization. This created depen-tribal borders. dency only hinders our sustainabil- Initial studies completed on the White ity. Earth Reservation reveal the figure forWe not only spend most of our cash a tribal energy economy alone con-outside the reservation, but also se- In a world where tribes have been sumes a phenomenally large portioncure almost all of our tribal income pushed to create cash-driven econo- of the entire economy: an estimatedfrom outside sources— such as feder- mies, there is another more resilient one-fourth of tribal household in-al revenues or royalties from resource way to live and it begins with valuing come is spent on energy-related ex-extraction— and are thus totally de- who we are and reclaiming our own penses whether for transportation,pendent upon outside markets. We | 3 |
  8. 8. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native America HigH gdP or a HaPPy country? Is it possible to have a happy country that is not cash rich? The New Economics Foundation has devised a system called the Happy Planet Index to rank the life-satisfaction of citizens in countries around the world. Instead of using economic wealth measures, such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country, the index used measures such as life expectancy and happiness to determine life satis- faction.”1 The findings demonstrate that, on a whole, rich countries with high rates of resource consumption are the saddest countries in the world. In fact, the happiest countries in the world are those with high rates of renewable energy and lower rankings of GDP! After examining nearly 200 countries, the 2009 index declared Costa Rica as the happiest country in the world, and two additional studies corroborated these results. Costa Rica gets over 99% of its energy from renewable sources.2 Costa Rica also has a great deal of organic agriculture, culturally based tourism, and a vital export crop of coffee. All of this, according to the index, means that Costa Rica is the most successful country in the world at converting “the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for [its] citizens.” 3 In 2006, the index listed the South Pacific island, Vanuatu, as the happiest country in the world.4 Surviving on small- scale agriculture and tourism, Vanuatu’s GDP per head was a mere $290 in 2006. Living according to tradition, the Vanuatu, like all other Indigenous peoples, have a unique relationship with the land. Their strong sense of culture and community played a significant role in putting them at the top of the index. Tribal nations can follow these examples. By keeping strong cultural traditions, restoring local food systems, in- creasing efficiency and creating renewable energy sources, tribal nations can be some of the happiest nations in the world without having a high GDP. | 4 |
  9. 9. The Basics of a Sustainable Economyheating, or electricity.5 This figure drain income and wealth from the local econoMiesis due to the relatively remote loca- tribal economy. The crisis situation strengtHen and regeneratetion of the White Earth Reservation facing tribal food economies is a ma- coMMunitiesin northern Minnesota, and the lack jor contributor to tribal poverty. In economic terms, there is a figureof resources for efficiency, combined called a “multiplier.” This figure re-with a lower average income than the Our economic analysis on the White flects how many times a dollar circu-general population. But the situation Earth Reservation, completed in 2008, lates in any given local communityis not unique to the White Earth Res- found that $7 million out of every until it moves into a larger economyervation. Many tribal communities $8 million of tribal household and far away. A 2008 study regarding thefind themselves in the same or simi- agency expenses (excluding casino elements of the Puget Sound, Wash-lar circumstances, making the study purchases) were spent immediate- ington area food economy revealedincreasingly relevant for all tribal ly off-reservation. When we spend that, “The more dollars circulating lo-nations. Across the board, remote money at a Walmart or Food Service cally, the greater the number of com-reservation communities have sub- of America, those dollars go outside munity linkages and the greater theirpar weatherization in much of their of our communities, the goods are strength. The research indicates thathousing and are hit especially hard produced far away, money is required more and stronger linkages provideby the high cost of energy to heat and to transport them, and profit goes to for a healthier, more diverse and re-cool their homes, as well as the cost of far away owners and/or stockholders. silient local economy.”6traveling long distances. However, a locally owned business, selling goods harvested and/or made Simply put, keeping our dollars lo-The energy predicament draining locally, keeps our dollars local, sup- cal strengthens and regenerates thetribal economies is augmented by porting our community’s economy. health of our economy and our com-unstable tribal food plans. The tribal munities. By developing communityfood economy represents another We can stabilize our tribal economies resources and goods to meet our ownsource of wealth and loss of wealth through localization. By developing community needs, we become lessin a tribal economy. Traditional food our own energy and food sources, we vulnerable to outside markets, andproduction keeps wealth in the com- can create vibrant and resilient tribal more self-reliant and self-sufficient.munity, while purchases from border economies that will ensure our sur-towns in multinational food supply vival in the face of the economic andenterprises and chain grocery stores environmental challenges ahead. Re-localizing food and ener- gy economies means taking responsibility for our future generations. This requires a paradigm shift back to our traditional knowledge sys- tems. We cannot erase the process of economic colo- nization and the deliberate creation of dependency. But we can join with others and take action to reclaim our future. Left: Artwork by Rabbit Strickland | 5 |
  10. 10. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaNotes: | 6 |
  11. 11. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communities Part Two: cHallenges Facing indigenous coMMunities: cliMate cHange, Peak oil, Fuel Poverty and Food insecurityClimate change, peak oil, fuel poverty and food insecurity on massive energy inputs. These realities are complex andare four interrelated challenges that Native communities have vast impacts on Native communities. Our communi-face in this millennium, challenges that stem from indus- ties, while at the center of the storm, also have unparalleledtrial society’s level of consumption and the corresponding potential to reduce the negative impacts of a destabilizingexploitation of lands, natural resources and peoples. climate and energy and food insecurity. We discuss solu- tions to these concerns later in this booklet, but as a start-Globally, we are presented with a new set of difficulties in ing point it’s important to understand the causes of climatethe face of a warming planet, the depletion of world oil change, peak oil, fuel poverty and food insecurity and thesupplies and an industrial agriculture system that relies distinct threats they present for Native America. Challenge One: cliMate cHangeThe Earth naturally goes through By definition, climate change is the At its essence, climate change seri-cycles of warming and cooling over “long-term significant change in the ously and adversely transforms thetime, but a climate that’s rapidly weather patterns of an area.”8 It turns way we live, and in this interconnect-warming and changing because of out that ‘significant change’ means ed world, impacts in one geographichuman behavior is another thing al- significant problems. Climate change region reverberate internationally. Iftogether and indeed a dangerous and creates a myriad of ecological cri- wheat or corn production in the Mid-very real scenario. ses, from more extreme and volatile west is compromised due to drought weather, such as extended droughts, or flooding, it affects prices and foodHuman activity has already raised massive floods and intense storms,9 availability across the globe. None ofthe average surface temperature to the destruction and loss of biodi- us are immune to climate change’s ef-of the Earth more than one degree versity. With a warming globe, many fects. And none of us are completelyFahrenheit. Scientists at the Intergov- of our foods and medicines (plants removed from contributing to it.ernmental Panel on Climate Change and animals) must adapt, seek cooler causes oF cliMate cHange(IPCC) calculate that the Earth’s tem- climates or face extinction. The IPCCperature will continue to rise at least has already confirmed certain ecosys- Unsustainable energy and indus-another degree, even with drastic tem shifts,10 from earlier bird migra- trial agriculture are the primary cul-mitigation efforts.7 While these tem- tions to habitat changes for fish and prits behind climate change. The USperature increases appear small, the wildlife, that will disrupt our relation- Global Change Research Programconsequences of a warming globe are ship to the land and species we have (USGCRP), the leading domestichuge. relied on for millennia. body tasked with researching climate trends, lays out the situation clearly: | 7 |
  12. 12. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaFeedBack looPs: desertiFication, cliMate cHange &Biodiversity loss greenHouse gases The Environmental Protec- tion Agency (EPA) explains the primary greenhouse gas- es that enter the atmosphere because of human activities: Carbon Dioxide: Carbon di- oxide enters the atmosphere through the burning of fos- sil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), solid waste, trees and wood, and also as a result of other chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of ce- ment). Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmo- sphere when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biologi- cal carbon cycle.Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Desertification Synthesis Report (2005), p. 17 Methane: Methane is emit- ted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emis- sions also result from live- stock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in solid waste landfills. Melting permafrost as a result of climate change releases mass amounts of methane as well. Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste.14 Left: A coal plant near the Northern Cheyenne Reservation | 8 |
  13. 13. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communities“The global warming observed overthe past 50 years is due primarily to Fossil Fuels: dirty Powerhuman-induced emissions of heat- Fossil fuels literally cometrapping gases. These emissions from fossils— the remains ofcome mainly from the burning of fos- prehistoric plants and ani-sil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with im- mals that lived millions ofportant contributions from the clear- years ago. Burning fossil fu-ing of forests, agricultural practices, els, such as coal, oil and gas,and other activities.”11 releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air, and CO2 emis-The main heat-trapping gas (also sions are the principal causecalled a “greenhouse gas”) respon- of climate change.sible for climate change is carbon di-oxide (CO2), often referred to as ‘car- According to the Departmentbon.’ In the energy sector, the worst of Energy, fossil fuels are cur-carbon offenders are electric power rently used to power overproduction and transportation. In 85% of the energy needs infact, electric power plants and trans- the United States.13 Signifi-portation were responsible for 73% of cantly reducing our relianceour total energy-related carbon emis- on fossil fuels is essential tosions in 2006.12 In terms of industrial mitigating climate change.agriculture, our food system is notonly petroleum-intensive, but also re-lies on massive clear cutting, destroy- longer reflect heat,16 growing desertsing remaining forests that absorb the that have less vegetation to storeEarth’s carbon. With added green- CO2,17 and melting permafrost thathouse gas emissions and shrinking emits methane18 are other examplesstorehouses for carbon, heat from the of the feedback loops acceleratingsun increasingly becomes trapped in climate change.the atmosphere, warming the globe. In the coming decades, increased at-The effects of climate change alter mospheric concentrations of green-carbon absorption cycles. For ex- house gases will continue to raiseample, the oceans, the world’s largest average global temperatures. Meltingcarbon storehouse, no longer take in polar ice and glaciers will further raiseas much carbon dioxide when they sea levels, dramatically change pre-warm,15 and as a result, more carbon cipitation patterns and increase theremains in the atmosphere, warming volatility of our climate. Water, essen-the Earth and the oceans even more. tial for all life, will be gravely affected.A vicious cycle continuously repeats A 2009 report by the USGCRP19 founditself making problems exponentially that water quality problems, water-worse. These cycles are called feed- borne diseases and shrinking waterback loops. Melting ice caps that no supplies will all intensify. Changes inLeft: Reprinted from “Stop Global Warming,”, the Spring 2008 YES! Magazine,www.yesmagazine.org | 9 |
  14. 14. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native Americatwo degrees FroM disaster water and other climate impacts are predicted to pose adaptation prob- lems for crop and livestock produc- tion, meaning our current food sys- tem is vulnerable. We need to take action. Native com- munities are already dispropor- tionately experiencing the adverse impacts of a warming globe. As the section below describes, it is clear that climate change strikes our com- munities first and worst. cliMate cHange iMPacts in indigenous coMMunities Native peoples are already witnessing dramatic changes in our territories. From fishing and salmon run impacts in the Northwest, to raging wildfires in Colorado and California, to storm surges and flooding along the East- ern seaboard to severe drought in the Southwest, present and futureFrom YES! Magazine by Doug Pibel, Madeline Ostrander, Jan 29, 2008natural Hazards and Mortality Kevin A. Borden & Susan L. Cutter. “Spatial Patterns of Natural Hazards mortality in the US” International Journal of Health Geographics. 7:64 Dec. 17, 2008. | 10 |
  15. 15. Challenges Facing Indigenous CommunitiesWaves pounding against the sandbagged seawall in Kivali- Alaskan coastal village of Shishmaref falls into the sea.na, Alaska. Photo credit: Mary Sage/AP Photo credit: Shishmaref Erosion & Relocation Coalitionchanges in the climate imperil our will continue to happen in more ru- The relocation costs for such violenthomelands, our lifeways and our very ral and remote areas, like reservation climate change damages representsurvival. communities. We are not prepared. significant costs. Relocation for the Inupiat village of Kivalina alone has alaska: a sign oF cHange toOur communities are at serious risk been estimated at $400 million or coMefrom climate change related disasters. more.24 Putting a price on a home-One-third of reservation residents Temperatures in the Arctic are rising land, however, is impossible.in the Great Plains live in substan- twice as fast as they are elsewheredard housing, as does much of Na- in the world.21 Arctic ice is melting The people of Kivalina are taking ative America, meaning that we have and rupturing and the polar ice cap stand.25 In 2007, Kivalina filed a fed-little protection from the increase as a whole is shrinking at a frighten- eral suit in US District Court againstin torrential rains, tornados, wind ingly rapid rate. As a result, numer- Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC, sevenshears, extreme heat, and extreme ous Indigenous coastal villages, once other oil companies, 14 power com-cold that climate change brings.20 We protected by the coastal sea ice, are panies and one coal company,26are in danger of freezing or cooking to in danger of being washed away by charging these corporations with thedeath in our own homes. Not to men- harsh storm surges. destruction of their village. Althoughtion that much of Native America has the court dismissed the case,27 itlimited telephone and telecommuni- At least 184 of Alaska’s 213 villages provides a moving example of Indig-cations access— meaning those most face significant erosion and flood- enous people standing up for whatexposed won’t be warned and won’t ing, according to a 2003 report by the is right and drawing attention to thehave a way to call for help in extreme US General Accountability Office.22 severity of climate injustice.weather. Today, government agencies have identified at least six Native villages Other Indigenous groups have beenIn 2008, USA Today reported on new- that must immediately respond to se- appealing to international humanly created maps, referred to as ‘Death vere erosion and flooding, including rights organizations to halt and rem-Maps,’ indicating projected mortal- the villages of Shishmaref, Koyukuk, edy climate change. In 2005, the Inuitity from extreme weather is expect- Kivalina, Newtok, Unalakleet, and Circumpolar Conference (ICC) fileded to increase in the face of climate Shaktoolik.23 In most of these villages, a complaint with the Inter-Americanchange. The maps demonstrate that relocation is essential for survival. Commission on Human Rights (IA-natural hazard deaths happen and CHR) against the United States.28 The | 11 |
  16. 16. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native Americacomplaint argued that American car- health challenges directly resultingbon emissions are destroying Inuit from climate change. indigenous PeoPles’habitat, and that catastrophic envi- suMMit on cliMateronmental and social disintegration It’s undeniable that climate change is cHangecaused by climate change constitutes happening and that if we don’t take In the spring of 2009, the In-a human rights violation. Like the action there will be serious financial, digenous Peoples’ Summitcourts in the Kivalina case, the IA- ecological and cultural consequenc- on Climate Change releasedCHR decided not to proceed with the es. There are several choices ahead: a declaration demanding im-complaint,29 but, by putting human 1) Do nothing, and let governments mediate action by govern-rights concerns front and center, the and businesses make market-based ments and developed coun-complaint changed the tenor of the decisions at a pace that does not mir- tries to reduce CO2 emissionsdebate concerning climate change in ror the urgency of the problem; 2) Be and support adaptation strat-a way that has had lasting effects.30 involved in mitigation, or reduction egies. A major challenge at of carbon, as communities and Na- the summit was addressingThe experience of Indigenous peo- tions, and 3) Adapt for climate change concerns by some delegatesples in the Arctic is just the beginning and ultimately a climate-challenged who felt that potential reve-as Native peoples across the country world. The second and third options nue and jobs might be lost byincreasingly find themselves forced provide real opportunities to make a limiting fossil fuel develop-to cope with massive ecological and better future. ment. Nonetheless, delegates found a consensus and are tHe Financial costs oF cliMate cHange now calling for action in re- sponse to the critical reality The costs of climate change are astounding. The US General Account- of climate change. ing Office warns that because “the frequency and severity of damaging weather-related events, such as flooding or drought” are expected to in- Key Demands From the In- crease, economic losses will be significant. Swiss Re, a major interna- digenous Peoples’ Summit tional reinsuring company cautions that, “climate change presents an on Climate Change: increasing risk to the world economy and social welfare.”32 In fact, cli- mate change-related expenses could rise to 20% of world Gross Domes- 1. Create a binding emissions tic Product (GDP), according to a British government-commissioned reductions target for devel- report.33 oped countries of at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 95% be- low 1990 levels by 2050. 2. Support all national and global actions to stabilize CO2 concentrations below 350 parts per million (PPM) and limit global tempera- ture increases to below 1.5 Celsius. 3. Demand effective, well- funded adaptation safety nets at the national and in- ternational levels.31 | 12 |
  17. 17. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communities Challenge Two: Peak oilHuman beings have used close to half but also in our food system, and this resources exist, but they are locatedof the world’s known oil reserves in dependence has significant implica- in either hard to reach locations re-the last fifty years. We are approach- tions in the face of our loss of access quiring high-cost, energy-intensiveing the “peak” of worldwide oil pro- to cheap petroleum. The economic extraction technologies, or in politi-duction and the depletion of conven- hardship wrought by peak oil will be cally unstable regions. Securing thesetional supplies. Some experts in the profound. deposits carries a large military andfield project that world demand will human rights price tag. What oil re-outpace conventional oil production The Department of Energy’s “Hirsch mains is going to cost a lot to get– notin the next decade.34 Report,” a widely respected analysis just financially– but also in terms of of peak oil concerns, notes that it will the cost to the environment and hu-The US consumes 20 million barrels take about 20 years just to prepare a man lives.of oil a day. That’s 25% of world sup- transition to mitigate the effects ofplies. We import 2/3 of the oil we use peak oil.36 Currently, we don’t have In North America, the present lay ofat a cost of $1 billion a day, represent- much of a plan on a national level, let the land is that major oil companiesing a huge transfer of wealth outside alone at a tribal level. We need to get are moving into remote and primar-our borders.35 With supplies in decline started. ily Indigenous areas to extract andand demand increasing, the price of secure new oil to offset declining pro- oil reality: Productionoil will continue to rise. Price spikes duction and increasing demand. Off- down, Price uPwill particularly impact the cost of shore drilling in the Arctic along withliquid fuels, such as gasoline, diesel The four largest oil fields in the world, the tar sands development in Canadaand propane. located in Kuwait, Mexico, Saudi are two examples of Indigenous ter- Arabia and China, are all showing ritories disproportionately impactedThe fact is that we have an economy declining production and US pro- by the search for remaining oil sup-dependant on petroleum consump- duction doesn’t come close to meet- plies. These projects are incrediblytion, not only in our transportation, ing domestic demand.37 Other oil destructive to land, life and people.The graphs above depict Hubbert’s Peak, a theory of peak oil named after the late Dr. M. King Hubbert, a geophysicist whopredicted patterns of oil discovery and depletion. Hubbert predicted a global oil peak between 1995 and 2000, and all evidencepoints to the fact that he was close to the mark. | 13 |
  18. 18. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native America Shell Offshore Inc. to drill in the Beau- multinational energy companies who fort Sea.40 That ruling forced Shell’s are resorting to desperate measures drilling plan back to the MMS, where to produce more oil. Indigenous the agency will need to meet legal ob- communities are threatened in every ligations to fully analyze and disclose step along this path, from the extrac- impacts from drilling on the rapidly tion to the refineries to the pipelines changing Arctic environment.41 slated to cross our homelands. tar sands oil: a wasteland Tar sands oil is one of the most en- in tHe Making vironmentally destructive new fuels In Alberta, Canada, rather than drill- for our gas tanks. To get one barrel of ing to the Earth’s core, oil companies oil, the boreal forest must be stripped have another idea: squeeze crude oil away, and it takes four tons of earth out of the tar sands. Tar sands devel- and two to three barrels of fresh wa-On the frontlines in Alaska. Photo opment places Canadian First Na- ter as well as large amounts of energycredit: REDOIL tions and US tribes face-to-face with to extract and convert the tarry earthoFFsHore drilling in alaskaIn the Arctic, both the oil depos-its in the North Sea and Alaska arenow past peak production and lie indepletion. Despite this, the US Geo-logical Service estimates that almostone quarter of the world’s remain-ing undiscovered, recoverable oil re-serves are in the Arctic.38 As a result,companies, with governmental sup-port, have been pushing hard to openareas off Alaska’s shore to oil drilling,but it’s going to be challenging to getto the oil. The oil lies deep below frig-id Arctic ice and water, under the seafloor, on the way to the Earth’s core.Shell Oil has set its sights on drilling14,000 feet below the Arctic sea floorto extract this deeply buried oil.39The Alaska Native group REDOIL is onthe front lines, fighting new oil drilling.REDOIL joined a lawsuit with conser-vation organizations to stop proposedoffshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea ofAlaska. Citing the subsistence rights ofAlaska Natives as a big factor in the de- Photo bycision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Indigenousfound that the US Department of Inte- Environmentalrior’s Minerals Management Service Network(MMS) illegally approved plans by | 14 |
  19. 19. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communitiesinto crude oil. Extensive devastationis already underway in Cree, Métisand Dené Territory where an area thesize of Michigan is slated for tar sandsdevelopment.Then there is the transportation prob-lem. After the energy intensive pro-cess of extracting and upgrading tarsands crude, the oil is mixed with toxicthinning agents in order to be piped tomarkets in the US. Plans for a vast net-work of tar sands pipelines cut acrossnumerous Native communities in theUS, exposing them to the potential fortoxic spills and contamination.The Alberta Clipper oil pipeline isslated to cross the Leech Lake andFond du Lac Ojibwe Reservationsin northern Minnesota. A group ofLeech Lake tribal members have fileda civil action in tribal court as wellas petitioned for a local referendumvote on the pipeline. Another pipe-line, the Keystone pipeline, is threat-ening Dakota and Lakota territoriesin Nebraska and South Dakota. TheSisseton-Wahpeton, Rosebud, San-tee and Yankton Sioux tribes togetherfiled suit to stop the Keystone pipe-line, arguing that there has been noconsultation with tribal communitiesin the drafting of the environmentalassessment for the project. Unfortu-nately, the case was dismissed.42 Map of existing and proposed tar sands pipelinesTar sands development has givenCanada an international reputation As Elizabeth May, Executive Direc- Going to extreme lengths to find oil,as a “climate criminal” for undertak- tor of Sierra Club Canada, said, “Tar and ignoring climate and culturaling such a devastating energy strategy sands oil is to conventional oil what impacts, only highlights how the in-in light of the dire circumstances of crack cocaine is to ordinary cocaine dustry is responding to peak oil byglobal warming. The tar sands are the powder. [It creates] more harm to doing everything possible to extendlargest greenhouse gas emitter in the the global climate through increased supplies rather than find alternatives.country.43 The project is also destroy- greenhouse gas emissions, more de- The bottom line is that our continueding one of the worlds’ most important struction of boreal forests, more toxic reliance on oil makes us vulnerable.storehouses of carbon, the Canadian tailings, and more air and water pol-boreal forest.44 lution.”45 | 15 |
  20. 20. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaNotes: | 16 |
  21. 21. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communities Challenge Three: Fuel PovertyOur climate change and peak oil homes. Twenty percent of the energy levels of usage.49 For tribes in north-problems are exacerbated by our in- used in American industry and in ern regions, a good portion of thisefficient energy practices. We pro- commercial and residential buildings energy income is spent on heat, andduce great amounts of power at huge is wasted because of poor insulation most families cannot afford the risingenvironmental and cultural costs and and ventilation.48 The cost of wasted cost. About 1/3 of reservation homeswaste much of it. An average coal energy in our tribal communities, are trailers, many of which were origi-plant wastes more energy than it gen- and in particular, our housing, con- nally built as temporary housing forerates; only 1/3 of the fuel’s energy is tributes to our poverty. warm climates but ended up as per-put to use, the other 2/3 is wasted.46 manent housing in bitterly cold ar- Fuel Poverty and HoMeOur infrastructure has become so inef- eas. These trailers, along with most Heatingficient that annual wasted energy from reservation homes, lack adequateAmerican electric power plants could “Fuel poverty” is a term that describes weatherization. In fact, roughly 90%fuel the entire country of Japan.47 the disproportionate cost of heating of reservation homes are without ad- a home for a low-income family. In equate weatherization.50 That meansAlong with wasting vast amounts 2006, more than 13 million house- much of the money and energy spentof energy in power production, we holds in poverty spent an average of to keep our homes habitable duringwaste a great deal in transmission 25% of their annual income on their the long winter months is wasted.and in our inefficient buildings and energy bills to maintain their modestAs illustrated, the United States wastes 57.07% of the electricity it generates. Graph by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratoryand the Department of Energy. | 17 |
  22. 22. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaThe sad reality is that the need for the dollars we spend on energy will off-reservation for groceries, clothinggovernment assistance to combat increasingly outpace all subsidies. In and other necessities.fuel poverty far outstrips the resourc- the 2005-2006 winter season, projec-es of the federal Low Income Heating tions suggested that energy costs for The Federal Highway Administrationand Energy Assistance Program and American Indian homes on reserva- estimates that those living in ruralother payment programs combined. tions would total $1.2 billion; an in- areas travel an average of 3,100 milesIn Minnesota, for example, 43,139 crease of 10-35% depending on the a year more than urban dwellers.54households applied for fuel assis- type of heating system.53 We need to This, combined with the older aver-tance and qualified, but were turned create long-term, sustainable solu- age age of vehicles and lower incomesaway due to lack of funding.51 As a tions to fuel poverty by creating a re- of residents, contributes to peopleresult, low-income households often newable, energy-efficient future. in rural areas spending as much assacrifice other necessities, like food 16% of their monthly family income Fuel Poverty andand medicine, just to stay warm. on transportation.55 This is much, transPortation much higher than the 2% of monthlyNationally, tens of millions of dollars “Fuel poverty” also applies to the income people living in urban areasin fuel assistance are spent to sup- poverty caused by high transporta- spend on transportation costs.56port our low-income tribal members. tion costs in reservation and otherSome of the cost of fuel assistance has rural communities. Our communities are increasinglybeen subsidized with a 2007 CITGO challenged by the rising cost of gaspetroleum project carried out in con- Most of our communities consist of and diesel, underscoring the needjunction with US partner Citizens’ a set of remotely situated villages, far to become more efficient in how weEnergy. The company provided a sub- from commercial centers. No infra- travel. Peak oil will drive up the pricesidy of $21 million in fuel assistance structure for public transportation of gas and diesel even more over theto 220 tribes in 13 states.52 exists on the vast majority of our res- next decade. Tribes must take a hard ervations, and there are few sidewalks look at efficiency and consumptionCITGO’s support is needed, gener- for walking or biking. We drive long in order to repair leaks in our localous and gracious, but as electricity distances to work, to procure servic- economies and protect our commu-and fuel prices continue to rise and es or visit family on the reservation, nities against unpredictable outsidewe continue to waste what we buy, and we drive even longer distances markets. “Van Go,” by Dwayne Wilcox | 18 |
  23. 23. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communities Challenge Four: Food insecurity locally on our reservations. Today, we industrial Food, cliMate produce less than 20%. Tribal com- cHange and Peak oil“Food sovereignty is the right munities are now reliant upon the Industrial agriculture has a huge car- of Peoples to define their same food systems and stores as the bon footprint. Overall, agriculture dominant population. In other words, own policies and strategies and land use changes are responsible our food economies have become in- for about one-third of all greenhouse for sustainable production, creasingly dependent upon the exter- gas emissions.61 The introduction of nal, industrialized food economy. distribution, and consump- mechanized farm equipment and of petroleum-based pesticides and her- Industrial food is expensive, inse- tion of food, with respect for bicides following World War II made cure and unhealthy. In June of 2008, growing and raising food extremely their own cultures…and is the Food and Agriculture Organiza- fuel intensive. Today, the food indus- tion (FAO) Food Price Index, which considered to be a precondi- try is the single largest consumer of measures the cost of a basket of food, energy in the US economy.62 tion for Food Security.” stood at its highest level ever.60 The in- crease in the cost of food has caused Industrial food is shipped and trucked— Declaration of Atitlan, First Indig- a huge loss in food security for peo- tremendous distances. In the US,enous Peoples’ Global Consultation ple on a worldwide scale. Based on food travels an average of 1,546 miles on the Right to Food and Food the factors contributing to the high from the producer to the kitchen ta- Sovereignty, Guatemala, 2002 price of food, including peak oil and ble.63 The system is so inefficient that climate change, this trend is likely to it now requires ten fossil fuel calories continue. Tribal communities cannot to produce a single food calorie.64 ForOur tribal land base represents an afford the rising cost. example, the US imports 270 millionenormous potential food resource.Almost 47 million of the over 54 mil-lion acres of tribal and individual In-dian trust lands are rangeland andcropland. 57 However, approximately70% of our cropland and 20% ofrangeland is leased to non-Indians.58This high percentage of leased landreduces Native control of tribal foodsystems at its source.We are producing less and less of ourown food. While more than 8,000 Na-tive farms operate on reservations,only a handful of these farms producefood for local tribal members.59 For ex-ample, the Fort Berthold Reservationand the Pima Tohono O’odham, onceagricultural foundations for their re-gion, now produce export commodi-ties for outside markets.Studies of tribal food security indicatethat just one hundred years ago, weproduced nearly all of our own food | 19 |
  24. 24. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaAt one time, we produced sufficient food for our own communities and for export. Above left: Navajo vegetable companylabel; Above right: Ricing on the White Earth Reservation.pounds of grapes from Chile every produces more greenhouse gas emis- gases from transporting the meatyear, releasing 7,000 tons of pollu- sions and other pollution than driv- that is of concern. To make room fortion along the way that contributes to ing for three hours while leaving all cattle, corporations in the Amazonglobal warming. And trucking, ship- of the lights on at home.67 Industrially Basin are clear cutting forests andping and flying food from across the produced beef also relies on fertilizer uprooting Indigenous peoples. Sevenglobe isn’t the only problem. To keep compounds like sulfur dioxide and football fields worth of trees are cutfood products from rotting in transit, phosphate, and consumes massive each day.70 Approximately 55 squaremanufacturers rely on petroleum- amounts of energy for every pound of feet of forest are destroyed for everybased plastic packaging that also re- meat produced.68 hamburger that comes from Centralquires tremendous amounts of fossil America.71 Deforestation for livestockfuels to make. 65 The carbon footprint of factory is also happening in the US. More farmed livestock is compounded by than 260 million acres of forest haveIndustrial meat operations are also the deforestation conducted to in- been clear cut for animal agriculture.72big greenhouse gas emitters. Live- crease grazing lands. To meet the Such massive deforestation acceler-stock alone accounts for 18% of growing demand for meat, the US ates climate change, as forests, like allworldwide greenhouse gas emis- imports about 200 million pounds plants, sequester carbon, helping tosions.66 In fact, eating a kilogram (2.2 of beef from Central America annu- keep it out of the atmosphere.lbs) of beef from the grocery store ally.69 But it’s not just the greenhouse | 20 |
  25. 25. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communitiesindustrial Food saFety Modern agricultural practices, and in Changes in weather patterns and er- particular, large-scale monocropping ratic droughts and frosts that comeIn February of 2008, 143 million (growing one crop on the same land with climate change all affect the vi-pounds of beef were recalled in the year after year) are causing us to lose ability of a food economy, particu-federal school lunch program because our topsoil as well. 90% of the nation’s larly if it is monocropped with hy-of contamination.73 And that is just cropland continues to lose its soil brid crops. Hybrid crops created forthe tip of the iceberg when it comes faster than any expected replacement an industrial food system are unableto health issues related to industrial rates.78 As a result, nearly one-third of to adapt quickly to volatile climatemeat production and distribution. the world’s arable land has been lost changes. And monocropping by defi-Most of our meat today comes from to erosion in the last 40 years.79 In ad- nition makes food systems more vul-factory farms, also known as Concen- dition, since the life cycles of mono- nerable because only one variety oftrated Animal Feeding Operations cropped annual crops are not well crop is grown year after year on the(CAFOs), where animals are kept con- synchronized with annual climatic same land. If that particular strainfined in inhumane conditions while and soil conditions, they compete gets diseased one year or is hit espe-being pumped with antibiotics and poorly with weeds for water and nu- cially hard by certain weather, the en-hormones. Diseases like E. coli, mad trients. Up to 45% of precipitation can tire food crop is jeopardized.cow and swine flu spread quickly be- escape to subsurface soil out of reachcause of these factory farming prac- of annual plants.80 This is five times In contrast, it turns out that many oftices. that lost by natural perennial prairie our traditional foods are drought andPetroleuM-Based Pesticides, plants, which are deeply rooted and frost resistant. That’s because ourFertilizers and tHe alive throughout the year. As a result, traditional seeds and foods were pro-Pollution and erosion oF annual crops lose 35% more nitrogen duced in a pre-fossil fuels world. Ourour land than indigenous plants.81 The nutri- traditional foods do not need petro- ents that leave the farm’s soil even- chemical fertilizers or giant irrigationThe industrialized food system relies tually reach the ocean via a series of systems and don’t need to be trans-on petroleum-based pesticides and groundwater aquifers, streams, and ported across the country. Restoringfertilizers, which have wreaked havoc rivers. In the ocean, the concentrated traditional foods is a means to restoreon our soil, water, and air. Since 1950, nutrients have created an increasing our food security.US pesticide use has increased from number of dead zones, areas where15 million pounds to more than 125 Food colonization: tHe fertilizer and other runoff has createdmillion pounds annually, yet over creation oF Food insecurity hypoxia, the choking out of oxygenthe same time period, the amount of and ill-HealtH from the ocean water. There are nowcrops lost to insects has doubled.74 It 150 of these dead zones in the world.82 Our ancestors would not recognizeis estimated that less than 0.1% of ap- One of the largest dead zones can be most of the foods we consume today.plied pesticides reach their intended found where the Mississippi River That’s because the majority of thetargets, causing damage both on and drains into the Gulf of Mexico. That food we now eat is not indigenous tooff site.75 This compounds the agri- dead zone is larger than the state of North America. Beef, dairy productscultural dilemma, and large amounts New Jersey.83 like milk and cheese, wheat and flour,of pesticides are repeatedly added to white sugar, and lard were all intro-battle weeds and insects. These fossil access to Food and Food duced by Europeans post-contact.fuel-based chemicals are not easily security These western foods have propertieswashed away. Agriculture is the larg- Access to food is a concern. Native foreign to our bodies, such as highest source of water pollution in the peoples often live in food deserts, levels of saturated fats and glucose.world.76 A 1999 report by the National meaning we have very few placesWater Quality Assessment Program we can easily get to that sell healthy The lack of access to our traditionalreported at least one pesticide in vir- foods. Climate change threatens to foods has had a devastating impacttually every water and fish sample increase our lack of access to food. on the health of our communities. Wecollected from streams.77 | 21 |
  26. 26. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native Americaare paying astronomical bills through Americans are improved.84 Our com- foods, agricultural techniques, seedour Indian Health Service and con- modity foods never improved and to- preservation, and blessings that cor-tract health to combat the high rates day, they still constitute a significant responded to planting, growing, andof obesity, diabetes and heart disease part of the modern Native diet– one harvesting,” was deliberately sup-we face as a result of the industrial study found that Navajo women get pressed.89 With parents forced awayfood complex. The hefty costs of ad- 43% of the calories they eat each day from growing traditional foods anddressing these diet-related illnesses from commodity foods.85 children removed from their commu-will not diminish unless we take action nities and life ways, Native peoplesby restoring our traditional foods. Prior to the introduction of commod- were left with a future of food depen- ity foods, diabetes was almost non- dence and ill health.Simply put, a western diet has made existent in Native communities. To-us sick. The Food Distribution Pro- day, some tribes have diabetes ratesgram on Indian Reservations, intro- of over 50%.86 Native peoples are 25% There is a better way and itduced in the 1930s to provide surplus more likely to develop diabetes than begins with restoring ourcommodities and agricultural prod- non-Natives and a full 30% of the Na- traditional foods. The recov-ucts to tribes, has left our peoples tive population suffers from the dis-more disease ridden than most other ease.87 ery of the people is tied to theracial groups in the United States. recovery of food, since foodTwenty years ago, in 1989, a study The process of colonization not only itself is medicine, not onlyconducted by the Government Ac- deteriorated our bodies, but also our for the body, but for the soul,countability Office concluded that the knowledge of food. Children that werecontinuing increase in obesity, diabe- forced into boarding schools were fed and for the spiritual connec-tes, heart disease and hypertension greasy, salty, sugary foods,88 none of tion to history, ancestors andis “likely to continue” unless federal which had been in the Native diet the land.food packages distributed to Native before. Knowledge “about medicinal | 22 |
  27. 27. Challenges Facing Indigenous Communities False Solutions: “clean” coal, carBon caPture and sequestration, nuclear Power & unsustainaBle BioFuelsClimate change, peak oil, fuel poverty and food insecurity endanger and exploit the Earth and her peoples. This choiceplace us at a crossroads. Industrial society can choose to has very significant implications for our continued survival.address the fact that the root cause of our planetary crisis is There are several prominent false solutions that mirror thefound in a system of centralized, polluting power based on existing paradigm of energy conquest, and simply extendextraction, combustion and inefficiency, or we can main- our reliance on a fossil fuel and nuclear economy.tain this model and continue to rely on technologies that CCS has never been tested on the “Clean” Coal: large scale required to make a dent unsustainable biofuels: a Dangerous oxymoron in global warming emissions. There irresponsible, Carbon- is no way to know if it will work over hundreds or thousands of years on intensive agriCultureSome coal proponents suggest that a global scale. In addition, CCS uses Unsustainable efforts to replace gaso-burning coal can have a place in a a great deal of energy, meaning that line with other fuel sources can beclimate challenged world. They sug- power production would need to be found in the big bio-fuels market. Ingest that using new technologies to increased just to manage the pro- the US, ethanol dominates the so-remove carbon and other greenhouse cess of reducing emissions, making it called ‘alternative’ fuel market. Etha-gases from coal emissions makes coal much more expensive than renewable nol is primarily made from corn. Ita ‘clean’ energy source. This logic is options that are already proven and can take more energy to grow, processfundamentally flawed. Coal is never have very minimal carbon impacts. and transport the ethanol than is con-clean. Coal is mined by ripping huge CCS is unproven and simply perpetu- tained in the fuel. And the practices byholes in the Earth, leaving behind tox- ates the dirty business of mining coal which the corn is grown often includeic messes and destroying landscapes, and coal combustion. the irresponsible overuse of toxic agro-ecosystems and groundwater. Even chemicals and the use of geneticallywhen toxins are removed before they nuClear power: expensive, modified (GM) seed. Monocroppedare burned and released into the air, GM corn is petroleum-intensive tothey don’t disappear and must be put Carbon intensive, unsafe grow and adds to erosion and agricul-somewhere. Every stage of coal pow- tural runoff on the prairie. Corn-baseder production brings environmental Nuclear power has left a deadly leg- ethanol also drives up the price of fooddamage. acy in Native America. From ura- as land and resources shift away from nium mining’s radioactive tailings to food production to fuel production. Carbon Capture anD nuclear waste storage, at every stage sequestration: theoretiCal of the nuclear cycle Native commu- nities have been disproportionately Outside the US, agribusiness compa- nies are devouring tropical regions anD misguiDeD impacted. In addition, nuclear power by creating fuel crop plantations in is anything but carbon neutral. Argu- South America, Southeast Asia, theCarbon Capture and Sequestration ments that nuclear power provides Pacific and Africa. Palm oil expan-(CCS) is a process that removes car- a solution to global warming ignore sion for biofuels is a primary causebon from coal emissions and then the carbon intensity of the uranium of deforestation in Indonesia90 wherepipes it to a storage site, either deep mining and upgrading process and forests are disappearing at a rate ofunderground, in vegetation or in the transportation of fuel and waste, up to 1.2 million hectares a year, trig-the oceans. Coal companies hope to which are significant. Nuclear power gering vast forest fires that spew mas-store carbon in the biosphere to keep is fundamentally dangerous; it relies sive amounts of CO2 into the air.91 Theit out of the atmosphere, but continu- on fuel that is highly radioactive and impacts of large-scale biofuel pro-ing to burn coal means continuing to lethal for tens of thousands of years duction often threaten Indigenousproduce pollution that will go some- after use. cultures and lands, and the transpor-where that’s likely to cause problems. tation of such fuel thousands of miles | 23 | simply adds to climate change.
  28. 28. Sustainable Tribal Economies: A Guide to Restoring Energy and Food Sovereignty in Native AmericaNotes: | 24 |
  29. 29. Opportunities for Tribal Action Part Three: oPPortunities For triBal actionTribal communities are uniquely po- capture wind speeds that are much The state of Minnesota has adopted asitioned to lead the way in develop- greater.94 strong goal of reducing carbon diox-ing a clean food and energy economy, ide emissions from fossil fuel basedone that doesn’t depend on constant Along with tremendous renewable power production 25% by 2025, andresource extraction, the burning of potential, we also have an infrastruc- 80% by 2050. Meeting the state’s port-dirty fossil fuels, and the invasion of ture of tribal colleges to train a green folio requires aggressive action into aother peoples’ territories to meet our workforce. Our lands, renewable re- new, renewable and efficient energyfood and energy needs. Harnessing sources and colleges provide a strong arena. We are keenly interested inour renewable potential, utilizing In- foundation for building resilient local having our communities at the centerdigenous knowledge to build resilient economies. of this transition across the country.local food economies and increasing renewaBle energy PortFolio renewaBle energy growtHefficiency will create meaningful jobs standardsand a community infrastructure that Wind energy is the fastest growing en-will benefit our tribal members and The economy of the future is a green ergy source in the world.97 In 2008, USthe coming generations. This section economy. The rising price of fossil fu- wind power production shattered allof the booklet showcases opportuni- els is creating a mandate for efficien- previous records with the installationties to affect these important changes. cy and the challenge of addressing of 8,358 MW of new wind generating climate change will require a reduc- capacity,98 the equivalent of produc-triBal renewaBle energy tion in carbon emissions from power ing power for two million households.Potential generation, transportation and agri- This represented 42% of the newly in-Tribes have some of the most abun- cultural sources. stalled power-generation capacity indant renewable energy potential in the US for the year and an infusion ofthe world. Tribal lands are incredibly With lack of action by the federal gov- some $17 billion into the economy.99rich in solar resources, holding an es- ernment on climate change, many Growth in all sectors of the wind in-timated 17,600 Billion kWh/year of cities, states and a number of tribal dustry, from manufacturing to instal-solar electricity potential. That’s al- communities have adopted poli- lation, is projected to continue.100most 4.5 times total US annual elec- cies to limit and reduce their carbontrical generation.92 emissions. At least 31 states have The solar power industry boomed mandated that a certain percentage globally between 2004 and 2008, withTribal lands in the lower 48 states of utilities’ power generation come a 51% compound annual growthalone hold more than 535 Billion kWh/ from renewable sources by a specific rate.101 In 2008, the industry grew byyear of wind power generation poten- date.95 Those mandates, called renew- 17% in the US alone.102 While the eco-tial, equal to about 14% of US annual able portfolio standards (RPS), have nomic recession and shrinking capi-generation in 2004.93 This potential, had far-reaching impacts. Research tal and credit has slowed solar growthcalculated at a turbine hub height of at Berkeley Lab, for example, suggests recently, technological advances con-50 meters above the ground, may be that over 50% of the total wind addi- tinue to offer breakthrough demon-more than doubled when measured tions that took place between 2001 strations that solar is a cost-compet-for modern wind turbines, which are and 2006 in the US were motivated at itive and reliable source of power.103mounted at 85 to 100 meters above least in part by state RPS policies.96 Market analysts are forecasting ro-the ground, as higher turbine heights bust growth in the solar industry over the coming years.104 | 25 |

×