Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
EnvironmentWatersheds11TuesdayApril222014ByMARIACHURCHCommunitiesintheDe-hchoaredrawingonthepastwhenitcomestomov-ingforwardwithrenewableandsustainableenergyop-tionsandawayfromfos-silfuels.Around60peoplefromeightcommunitiesintheDehchowereinFortProv-idenceinFebruaryforaRenewableEnergyForumheldinpartnershipwithFirstNationstheArcticEnergyAlliancethede-partmentofEnvironmentandNaturalResourcesandthePembinaInstitute.Themeetingdrummedupdiscussionfromcom-munityleadersabouthowtoimplementsustainableenergytechnologiesanddrewonseveralcurrentprojectsbeingdevelopedintheareainputfromexpertsandknowledgefromcom-munityelders.MelaineSimbaenviron-mentcoordinatorwithKgeeTuFirstNationinKakisasaidmuchofwhatwasdis-cussedcanbeconnectedbacktotraditionalpracticesontheland.Alotofeldersandpeo-pleintheNorthburnedwoodtoheattheirhomessobiomasshasalwaysbeenaneasywaytokeeptheenvironmenthealthySimbasaid.ShaunaMorgansenioranalystwiththePembinaIn-stitutewhoco-organizedtheDehchoforumsaidbiomassenergyisgrowinginpopu-larityintheNorthforlargerorganizationslikecommunitygovernments.Certainlytheresalotofexcitementaboutmov-ingtowardsrenewableenergyshesaid.Asweheardattheforumtheseideasandtheseprinciplesarenotneweithertheideaofworkingtostayinbal-ancewiththeenvironmentandkeeptheenvironmentaroundyoucleanaswellastheoverallclimatebutalsotheideaofusingtheresourcesaroundyou.InthecaseofKakisare-turningtoadependencyonwoodfuelwillgivethecommunityanincentivetoreconnectwiththelandthroughtheharvestingpro-cessSimbasaid.Costisanotherfactor.De-spitethehighupfrontcostofinstallingawood-energysystemthecommunitywillsavemoneyinthelongrunshesaid.InKakisathecostoffueloilusedtoheatmosthomesis42pergigajoulewhilethecostofwoodisaround17pergigajoule.Someofthecommunitymembersbalancethatoutbyburningwoodduringthedayandthenturningthefur-nacealittlebitupduringthenightSimbasaid.KgeeTuFirstNationiscurrentlywaitingonthede-liveryofthecommunitysfirstwoodenergyboilerheatingsystemwhichwasslatedtoarrivelastmonthbutwasdelayeduntillaterinApril.TheFirstNationorigi-nallyplannedtoinstallacordwoodboilersystemsincetheyhadrecentlyclearedalargesectionoflandforrebreaksbutthatsystemwouldhaverequiredtheretobefedeveryfourtosixhoursduringthecold-estmonthsoftheyear.Welookedintothatanddecidedtogowithadif-ferentboilersystemthatisinbetween.Youcanburnwoodandalsowoodpel-letsSimbasaid.Woodpelletscanbeautomati-callyfedintotheboilerfromlargesilos.YouthlosingknowledgeAccordingtoSimbael-dersattheforumexpressedconcernaboutyouthmovingawayfromtraditionalprac-ticessuchasgatheringwoodfuelontheland.Someoftheeldersmen-tionedthatsomeyoutharelosingtheirculturenothav-inganunderstandingofwhythereisareasonforburningwoodtokeepyourhousewarmshesaid.Theyresayingitsgoodtogooutandexerciseandlearnaboutdifferenttypesoftreeswhichtreestoburnandwhichonesgiveyoutoomuchashortoomuchsmoke.Thisisthesortofknowledgetheelderssaytheyoutharelosing.DehcholookstopastforfuturerenewableenergyEnvironmentRenewablesPhotocourtesyofArcticEnergyAllianceAround60participantsfromeightcommunitiesintheDehchotakepartinarenewableenergyforuminFortProvidencelastFebruarytodiscussbestpracticesandlearnfromexpertsandelders.CaribouLegsonlastlegofProtectthePeeljourneyGwichinTribalCouncilstillplanningoutlegalchallengeByMEAGANWOHLBERGGwichinmarathonrunnerBradFirthisnearingtheendofhis1200-kmruntoprotectthePeelRiverwatershedthisweekplanningtopersonallydeliverthestackoflettersfromconcernedNorthernerstotheYukonpremierbeforetheendofthemonth.FirthbetterknownasCaribouLegsbeganthejourneyonApr.2stoppingineverycommunityalongthewaytogathersupportforhiseffortstoraiseawarenessandoppositiontotheYukongov-ernmentsproposedlanduseplanforthe68000square-kmPeelwatershed.Therunnerwhomadeawarm-uptrekfromFortSmithtoYellowknifelastyearcom-pletedtheDempsterHighwaylastweekandspentsometimeinMayoandDawsonCityYukonbeforetakingoffagainFridayontheremainderofhisruntoWhitehorse.Whileanarrivaldatewilldependonweathercondi-tionsandFirthsphysicalwell-beingheisexpectedtoarriveintheYukoncapitaltoreadeachletteronthestepsofthelegislaturearoundApr.28beforehandingthemofftoPremierDarrellPasloski.GwichinTribalCouncilGTCpresidentRobertA.AlexiewhodroveFirthssupportvehiclefortheinitial120-kmstretchsaiddespiteadisappointingsend-offinInuvikwhereonlyoneyouthshoweduptorunwithhimFirthreceivedgreatcommu-nitysupportinTsiigehtchicandFortMcPhersonwherehewasfedhousedandreceivedover3000indonationstocoverthecostsofhistriplikefuelandgroceries.Ahatpassedaroundatatalentshowduringlastweek-endsPeelRiverJamboreeinFortMcPhersonraisedover1000inonesitting.ThatmoneywasdrivensouthtomeetFirthontheroad.PeoplelinedthestreetsandapplaudedhiminAlexiesaidofFortMcPherson.ThatliftedhimupprettygoodandbythetimehegottotheGwichincouncilofcetheyhadawholespreadlaidoutforhim-soupbannockdo-nutsallsortsofstuff.SimilarfestivitieswereheldinMayoandDawsontohonourFirth.Therunnercontinuestoup-datehisCaribouLegsFace-bookpageregularlyalwayswithmessagesofthankstotheCreatorandthesloganLonglivethePeelwatershedThankyoutoeveryoneforstrengtheningmeforthisincrediblejourneysofarhewrotelastweek.AlexiesaidplansforFirthsnaleventinWhitehorsearestillintheworks.HesaidmanypeoplefromInuvikandbeyondwanttomakethejour-neydowntosupporthimbutareunsureifthatspossibleduetomeltingicecrossingswhichmightstrandthemontheothersideoftheriver.GTClegalghtstillinplanningstagesWhiletheGTCannouncedinearlyFebruarythatitwouldbelaunchingitsownlegalac-tionagainsttheYukongovern-mentslanduseplanforthewa-tershedAlexiesaidleadersarestillformingastrategicplan.TheGTCclaimstheYukonsplanfortheregionviolatesrightsestablishedthroughavarietyofagreementsrecog-nizedbytheCrownincludingtheGwichinComprehensiveLandClaimAgreementandthecreationofthePeelRiverPreserveFortMcPhersontrappingareaandtheYukonTransboundaryAgreement.ThoserightsallowedtheGTCaspotatthelanduseplanningcommissionsveyearsofconsultationsonthePeelwatershedwhosenalreportrecommended80percentprotectionoftheprevi-ouslyuntouchedwatershed.TheYukongovernmentre-jectedthatreportreleasingitsownplanfortheregioninJanu-arythatopens71percentofthewatersheduptodevelopment.WhilethemajorityofthePeelwatershedsitsontheYukonsideoftheborderitswatersdraineastintotheNorthwestTerrito-riesbeforeheadingouttosea.FundraisersheldacrossYukonTheYukongovernmentisfacingaseparatelawsuitledbyacoalitionofYukonFirstNationsandconservationgroupsunderthelegalcounselofesteemedAboriginalrightslawyerThomasBerger.EffortstoraisefundsforthelegaldefencehavebeenoccurringacrosstheterritoryforweeksincludingconcertsandfeastsinDawsonCityandWhitehorseandevenaziplineeventattheTakhiniHotSpringshostedbyEquinoxAd-ventureswheremoneyfromeach5ridewenttowardstheYukonPeellegalcase.ThelawsuitwillgototrialJuly7-11inWhitehorse.BradCaribouLegsFirthandhisrunningcompanionTrixietakeapausetoenjoythesceneryduringthelaststretchoftheDempsterHighway.PhotocourtesyofBradFirth