This last week was an important one as our good friends from the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) came to visit us on the Pine Ridge Reservation. RREAL is working to break down financial and informational barriers to the widespread use of solar energy out in Minnesota. They feel that like the digital divide which separates communities based on access to information, there is also a renewable energy divide and that specifically lower income communities are in danger of being left behind as our society shifts towards a renewable economy.
These are our types of folks and a natural friendship has evolved that is slowly becoming a successful partnership as we share ideas, equipment and a vision to extend solar heating systems and other renewable energy applications to those who need it most.
This week, Jason Edens Tim Ollhoff and Steve Benson arrived at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) on Pine Ridge with three of their solar heating systems. The first one they installed with Henry and Avery Red Cloud of Lakota Solar Enterprises at the Lakota Children’s Village, which serves as the home for Lakota children in need of shelter.
It was a most wonderful installation that will provide heat for pennies a day for Lakota children in great need for many years to come!
Their second solar heating system was installed as a solar demonstration and education unit at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. The Center is being developed as a place for tribal members from across the Great Plains and beyond to be trained in facility and family sized renewable energy applications and installations.
The third unit will be installed by Lakota Solar Enterprises for another family at Pine Ridge in the weeks ahead.
We also planted windbreaks and shade trees for two families at the Fraggle Rock community in Pine Ridge. The north wind there blows hard and cold for much of the winter causing entire rooms in homes to be abandoned during winter because they are so cold. So we plant trees as family windbreaks which will immediately start to shield the homes from the bitter chill and will grow over the years into a solid wall of protec
tion. We also planted two shade trees at each house to provide shade during the extremely hot summers.
While we were in the neighborhood, we also installed one of LSE’s solar heating systems. Together, we will use these three homes to demonstrate natural ways to lower heating costs and we will now begin to raise funds for additional tree planting in the neighborhood in the spring of 2009.
A special thanks to TWP’s Tribal Lands Program Coordinator, Liz Sunderland, who coordinated the RREAL visit and handled many of the logistical details of getting these five installations done.
That’s the true spirit of Trees, Water & People....getting difficult things done…. and done well!
One thought on “TWP Makes Progress at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation”
the reservation is most probably also fit for other forms of sustainability related production forms in arid regions.
There exist innovative ways for food + (bio)fuel production, in which both sides enforce each other, and generate regional production cycles generating incomes and self-sufficiency in sustainably produced energy and crops. In multi-bio-diversity approaches. This is currently prepared with traditional communities in the Latin Americas, Africa etc., by people involved in environmental protection, shamism etc.
In their days of buffalo hunting the Lakotah spiritually refused to cut open Mother Earth’s bosom and toil the soil. So, I do not know whether 21st Century generation is open for plantations. However, to indulge in the benefits of diet and mobility they may be ready to accomodate means of self-producing the necessary resources in sustainable, responsible ways in tune with the biosphere.
If there is serious interest, I can put Henry in touch with representatives of a new Sustainable Energy Organisation (some key members are in the region of Wiesbaden) recently founded at the http://visionsummit.org (which was all about new forms of Social Business, spearheaded by Muhammad Yunus, who took millions out of poverty and has generate a multibillion dollar market of micro-credit, micro sustainable energy markets etc etc.)