At SOCAP 2011, many international companies solving global poverty issues were represented, but poverty is also a reality for millions of North Americans. In this interview, Donna Morton, the CEO of First Power Canada, discusses her program for building jobs and reviving the economies of first nation Native Americans all over North America. Morton works with these communities to build 100% clean energy systems that not only enable a self-sustaining energy source but support an entire economy including such elements as tourism and food production that has the 100% clean energy label. Her programs are giving these communities a shot at the green economy.
Hesquiat First Nation in British Columbia was one such example. The community was entirely dependent on diesel, and therefore outside resources, for heat, light and power. Morton’s program enabled the community to become self sustaining, and increased jobs by 25%. Her program also celebrates culture. Cultural modifications are common: making solar panels look like murals and converting regular wind towers to become totem poles. After a 3-5 year program, the community will run their own power system and will have created businesses and jobs tied to green power.
Morton is now expanding her program to the US and evaluating commercial projects that can sell power. She is also looking at how individual investors can participate to invest in their own and surrounding communities. Follow her projects @first_power.
Connie Kwan is a Social Entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley, CA. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School, and covers stories about triple bottom line businesses and projects. Follow her on Twitter @ConnieMKwan and check back for more video interviews from SOCAP 2011.