From a distance, last week’s 20/20 Catalyst Program looked like 21 enthusiastic Indigenous participants from across Canada learning how to better integrate renewable energy into their communities.
The week, held at the beautiful White Point Beach Resort, was full of education sessions, local tours, delicious food, riveting entertainment and networking opportunities.
But when you focus in, you see the real magic of the week.
A notebook full of notes and sketches – ideas that have been planted, ready to grow.
Dozens of boots walking through the brush along the shimmering Mersey River as it generates clean energy for the community.
The fish, the cheese, and the bread thoughtfully prepared by the local Acadia First Nation for the Community Feast.
The still darkness of Liverpool’s historic Astor Theatre moments before an iconic celebration of Mi'kmaq song and story.
And the meeting of two Catalysts’ minds, with shared experience and challenges, igniting a moment of inspiration that could very well be the first step towards real change in a community for generations to come.
These moments, together, felt like the intersection of collaboration, change, and the tools needed to get there. These experiences brought to life the meaning of the week: Catalyst.
Lisa Francis, Senior Mi’kmaq Relations Advisor with NS Power, was instrumental in developing the successful joint proposal between NS Power and Acadia First Nation to host the week-long session in Nova Scotia as part of the program, and was at the helm of planning and carrying out the events.
She is a Mi’kmaw from Acadia First Nation, Kespukwitk (“Lands’ End”) Mi’kmaw Territory, one of seven Mi’kmaw Districts of Mi’kma’ki, who grew up in a small community along Nova Scotia’s south shore surrounded by the culture and history along the Mersey River.
For her, the week was about meaningful relationships and making progress together towards a more sustainable future for all Canadians.
“The program provides a synergy of Indigenous groups across Canada who can build a strong network of Indigenous clean energy supporters, developers and mentors for our next seven generations,” she explains.
“NS Power’s involvement in the program demonstrates our commitment towards meaningful relationships with Indigenous people and working towards our clean energy targets for a sustainable tomorrow.”
And what began in Nova Scotia for Catalysts, like Jason MacLeod of Glooscap First Nation, continues in Ontario and the Yukon this summer with additional week-long sessions.
“It was an honour to be selected,” said MacLeod. “As an environmentally friendly community, we are always seeking ways to lessen our environmental impact, and be the most responsible stewards of the land as possible.”
Follow along with the 20/20 Catalyst program through their Twitter feed or website.
Nova Scotia Power, with support from Emera Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy provided $50,000 to support the first of three onsite intensive sessions of the program in Nova Scotia, including sponsorship spots for two local Catalysts.
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