NunatuKavut, meaning ‘our ancient land’, encompasses the central and south eastern portion of Labrador. NunatuKavut is home to a distinct population of Inuit who have long remained connected to the land, sea, and ice of their territory. NunatuKavut communities are working towards wholistic sustainability, balancing a complex web of resources, opportunities and threats that allow them to continue to live according to their culture and values. Currently, all coastal NunatuKavut communities are reliant on diesel fuel for power generation. Community members view diesel as reliable, safe and effective, but there are concerns about how diesel impacts individual and community health as well as environmental sustainability. Renewable energy alternatives could provide an alternate pathway to sustainability, offering greater autonomy and energy security, however discussions about energy transitions must be embedded within culture and community, and defined by Inuit governance structures.
NunatuKavut has been undertaking its own Sustainability Planning, of which the A SHARED Future funds are supporting. Our research team had nine youth train in sustainability research with a focus on renewable energy. We worked with them for eight weeks, training them in survey collection, report writing, and other research-related activities. They attended a conference in Montreal where they participated in presenting and learning about diverse initiatives in climate change and resources. The team wants to continue to work through ASF to do some evaluative research and identify lessons learned from the research project. The team has also been involved in some monitoring work on climate change. Lastly, we are holding another Sustainability Summit in early March of 2020.
The Team would like to welcome Nicole Blinn as a new research assistant, who has been helping to facilitate an evaluation of the NATURE [NunatuKavut Action Team on Understanding Renewable Energy] Youth Council – a team of nine Inuit youth whom where hired from across NunatuKavut to build capacity and steer energy transitions in their own communities. Nick Mercer was recently awarded a two-year SSHRC post-doctoral award to pursue work with Victoria Sandre the address the immediate community priority of heat security in NunatuKavut. and NCC Staff are also working to prepare an application for NRCan’s Forestry Initiative. The team is also supporting the NCC in launching a competitive request for proposals in support of a community firewood social enterprise to be piloted in Black Tickle. Proposals have been accepted and are currently being evaluated. The program will employ and train community-members to harvest, haul, split, and deliver firewood to Elders, seniors, single parents, those with mobility challenges, and others in need in NunatuKavut communities.