Transforming relations in the green energy economy: control of lands and livelihoods

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Salter, Raya, et al. Energy Justice : US and International Perspectives. Edited by Raya Salter et al., Edward Elgar Pub., Inc., 2018.


This chapter presents a tale of two Indigenous communities in Canada—one that faced the devastating impacts of energy development and another that has successfully developed a sustainable energy project under its inherent sovereignty. The chapter examines these communities, displaced by “green energy” projects designed to address climate change, such as solar, wind, nuclear, and hydroelectric projects. Despite these projects’ devastating human rights impacts (such as loss of land, forced migration, and destruction of subsistence livelihoods), many are proceeding full steam ahead. Planned relocation strategies developed for those fleeing the destruction of their homes by climate change are being proposed as solutions for communities displaced by green energy, disregarding the meaningful spiritual and cultural connections that many people develop with specific lands, species, and ecosystems. The chapter serves as a warning that the power dynamics of the green economy may reproduce the “sacrifice zones” of the fossil fuel economy.

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