CEDAR events October 12-13, 2023

The CEDAR project and the Environment & Society program at St. Thomas University hosted two days of free public events about energy transitions on October 12 and 13, 2023. [pdf agenda HERE]

This page includes information about and resources from the main events. You are welcome to use and share these resources – scroll down to find them:

  • CEDAR Project Launch
  • Professor M.V. Ramana. Nuclear Energy and the Bomb
  • Opening the Day of Dialogue on Decolonization, Degrowth and Energy Transitions
  • gkisedtanamoogk. Earth, Human Lifeways, and the Esoteric: Decolonizing the Essential Energy Transition
  • Dr. Gordon Edwards. The Energy Transition: a Metaphorical Framework
  • Dr. Éric Pineault. The energy transition through the lens of degrowth: opportunities and implications for movements

The official launch of the five-year CEDAR (Contesting Energy Discourses through Action Research) project was followed by the events, all held at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

Thank you to our speakers and CEDAR team members and guests who participated in the event launch, opened the sessions, welcomed participants, shared their reflections on these presentations, facilitated discussions with audience participants and introduced the speakers: Chief Ron Tremblay, Wolastoq Grand Council; Miigam’agan, Elder-in Residence at St. Thomas University; Sabrina Bowman, Toronto Metropolitan University; Chief Hugh Akagi, Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik; Dr. Jean Philippe Sapinski, Université de Moncton; Dr. Sophie Lavoie, NB Media Co-op; Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Canada; Dr. Janice Harvey, St. Thomas University; Dr. Susan O’Donnell, St. Thomas University, Clive Baldwin, St. Thomas University; and the CEDAR team members who also participated in the final discussion, Dr. Andy Secord, St. Thomas University and CEDAR research assistants Erin Hurley and Emma Fackenthall, St. Thomas University; Cecilia Pérez Plancarte, Université de Moncton; and Sophie Groll, University of British Columbia.

The days were replete with rich and open discussions and dialogue that stimulated many ideas for the work of the CEDAR project moving forward. Thank you to everyone who participated!

CEDAR Project Launch

Work on the CEDAR project started in April 2023, soon after we learned our project proposal to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) was successful. We held our launch event at St. Thomas University on October 12, while team members were visiting Fredericton for the CEDAR public events. Invited speakers were STU Elder-in Residence Miigam’agan, STU President Nauman Farooqi, Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin, Fredericton South MLA David Coon, and CEDAR team members. More info including a short video and news article about the launch event is HERE.

Professor M.V. Ramana. Nuclear Energy and the Bomb

When thinking about energy transitions, the issue of nuclear weapons rarely comes to mind. Yet the connections between generating nuclear energy and the ability to make nuclear weapons have been evident since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. M.V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. On October 12, the CEDAR project invited Ramana to share his analysis. His slides are HERE. The video (49 minutes), published by the NB Media Co-op, is below.

A Day of Dialogue about Decolonization, Degrowth and Energy Transitions

Canadians are experiencing a climate crisis: more high temperatures, wildfires, droughts, flooding and other extreme weather events. Climate scientists are urging us to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure and rapidly reduce our fossil fuel use. How will we make these transitions? Let’s talk about it.

The dominant energy transition discourses promote economic growth fuelled by fossil fuels or biomass paired with carbon capture and sequestration technologies, and using fossil energy such as fracked gas as a “transition fuel” to low-carbon energy in the distant future. In New Brunswick, the recent NB Power plan centres speculative small modular nuclear reactors. The CEDAR project organized this day of dialogue about decolonization, degrowth and energy transitions to challenge the dominant narrative and open up discussions about alternative paths: energy conservation, reductions in aggregate energy use, and ending social and environmental injustices related to colonization.

Opening the Day of Dialogue

Wolastoq Grand Council Chief Ron Tremblay

CEDAR team member Wolastoqewi Kci-Sakom spasaqsit possesom – Ron Tremblay (Wolastoq Grand Chief morningstar burning) welcomed the gathering to the homeland of the Wəlastəkw. In his opening remarks, Chief Tremblay spoke about how cedar is a powerful medicine used to help cleanse and heal.

STU Elder-in-Residence Miigam’agan

STU Elder-in-Residence Miigam’agan welcomed everyone to St. Thomas University. She described her role as providing cultural and spiritual support to Indigenous students on campus and holding the doors open to First Nations communities, Elders and Knowledge-Keepers in Wabanaki. Miigam’agan also thanked M.V. Ramana who spoke the previous evening for explaining and confirming what was known about the destructive power of nuclear energy.

gkisedtanamoogk. Earth, Human Lifeways, and the Esoteric: Decolonizing the Essential Energy Transition


The CEDAR team invited Indigenous Knowledge Keeper gkisedtanamoogk to share his thoughts with us on these challenging topics. He is Otter Clan, Mashpee Wampanoag, and married into Burnt Church Community. gkisedtanamoogk also shared a written text that includes some of the slides used during his presentation, Earth Narrative, HERE.

Here are audio and video recordings of his presentation (45 minutes):

Dr. Gordon Edwards. The Energy Transition: a Metaphorical Framework

Dr. Gordon Edwards

Gordon Edwards, a CEDAR team member, is President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR). The CCNR website has information resources developed over almost five decades about all aspects of nuclear power. In this talk on October 13, Gordon presents his thoughts about the energy transition in eight chapters.

Here’s a recording of his presentation (30 minutes):

Éric Pineault. The Energy Transition through the Lens of Degrowth: Opportunities and Implications for Movements

Éric Pineault is a professor in the Department of Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal and an active member of the Quebec provincial social movement The Common Front for an Energy Transition. His new book is A Social Ecology of Capital. The team invited Éric to join us by zoom on October 13 and share his perspective on degrowth and how the concepts can help mobilize action. The video (38 minutes) is published by the NB Media Co-op:

Next steps for the CEDAR team

The events in October gave the team lots to consider moving forward. At the end of the Day of Dialogue on October 13, we gathered to share our initial thoughts on the events of the last two days and where to go from here. Currently two of our studies are underway. The next focus will be developing the directions for a third study: action research.

Chief Hugh Akagi, Chief Ron Tremblay, Jean Philippe Sapinski, Cecilia Pérez Plancarte, Sophie Groll
M.V. Ramana, Erin Hurley, Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sabrina Bowman, Emma Fackenthall
Sabrina Bowman, Emma Fackenthall, Gordon Edwards, Janice Harvey, Susan O’Donnell

These events were supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Thank you SSHRC!