Contact Us!

Engaging rural communities in renewable energy

Renewable energy projects can have a tremendous impact on small communities. Proper implementation is key to ensuring a fair and positive impact. 

John ParkinsJohn Parkins is Professor of Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta. He has been studying how rural communities are dealing with declining primary industries and the rise in renewable energy projects. He is concerned about the potential for communities to be left behind in the shift to renewables. A shift that can lead to opposition to an energy transition that is vital in dealing with climate change.

Iron & Earth relies on a sense of community to get much of our work in renewable energy done. Not just by consulting with individuals and communities on how they might be affected by the energy transition, but by collaborating to ensure that everyone connected to a project in some way is also part of determining the outcome. And like Dr. Parkins, ensuring that communities are not left behind. 

Dr. Parkins work asks “who wins, who loses, and who decides” in the development of renewable energy projects being built near small towns or individual land owners. Questions that need to be addressed to secure equitable energy diversification and sustainable development.

Questions that we also seek to answer, so we put freelance broadcaster Don Hill in touch with John Parkins to find out what he has learned about the costs and benefits of the energy transition.

In case you wondered where renewable energy projects are popping up in Canada, Dr. Parkins’ team developed an interactive map of renewable energy projects across the country.




This podcast is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.

Iron & Earth was founded and operates on Indigenous land within Treaty Six Territory and Métis Region 4 in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (in Nehiyawewin/Cree), so-called Edmonton. The home of many Indigenous Peoples including the Nehiyawak/Cree, Tsuut’ina, Niitsitapi/Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, Dene Suliné, Anishinaabe/Ojibway/Saulteaux, and the Inuk/Inuit.

We pay our respects to all Indigenous Peoples of this land. Through their spiritual and practical relationships with the land, a rich heritage for our learning and our life as a community has been created and maintained. We recognize that the transition to a low-carbon future must be led by Indigenous Peoples and that there will be no justice unless we acknowledge and repair our relationship with the land.

We are committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and acknowledge that we are always learning and unlearning practices that minimize harm and lead to the development of trust between us and Indigenous Peoples across Nations and urban centers.