Iron & Earth is led by oilsands workers committed to incorporating more renewable energy projects into our work scope. We created this organization during the spring of 2015 when oil prices started to fall. We were losing work and conversations about needing to diversify our energy grid was dominating our lunch conversations on the job site. This moment acted as a catalyst for us to realize our shared vision for a sustainable energy future for Canada - one that would ensure the health and equity of workers, our families, communities, economy, and the environment. We founded Iron and Earth as a platform to engage in renewable energy development issues, and to empower us to advocate for an energy future we can be proud of creating. Our membership has since grown to include workers from a variety of industrial trades, including boilermakers, electricians, pipe fitters, ironworkers, and labourers.
There's a place for the oilsands
Every Canadian uses oil in some form on a day-to-day basis, and it's an essential resource for our country at this period in history. The oilsands is a key industry for the Canadian economy, and adds to the wealth of individuals, families and business owners. The members of Iron and Earth greatly appreciate the jobs that oilsands development has created for us, and realize that we will rely on many of these jobs into the near future.
There's a place for renewable energy
Renewable energy development has already created thousands of jobs in Canada, and has the potential to create millions more. Fortunately, for many of the workers who are affected by the ongoing boom and bust cycles of the oilsands, many renewable energy jobs require the same skills and tradespeople that are currently working in Canada’s oil and gas industry. There is a lot of work to do to make this transfer of skills fluid, and that is the work that Iron and Earth hopes to engage in. If this direct transfer of skills was streamlined, Canada would be empowered to more rapidly diversify its energy sector, while developing the oilsands at a sustainable pace. This fluidity would also ensure that workers like us are more consistently employed.
Where iron and earth meet
We, the members of Iron and Earth, are the hands and feet of our energy future in Canada. Our intention is not to shut down the oilsands, but to see they are managed more sustainably while developing our renewable energy resources more ambitiously. The power of this initiative is its potential to bring together diverse stakeholders to advance a shared vision of the future. Oilsands workers, business owners, non-profits, politicians from the left and right, and every-day Canadian consumers can stand together for a future we all believe in – one where iron and earth meet.