Speaking to the World
Boston | Chicago | San Diego | Atlanta
Climate Justice, Renewable Energy & Indigenous Rights Advocate
Melina Laboucan-Massimo has worked on climate justice, Indigenous sovereignty and women's rights for the past 15 years. She is the Founder of Sacred Earth Solar, co-founder and Senior Director at Indigenous Climate Action. Melina is the inaugural Fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation where her research focused on Climate Change, Indigenous Knowledge and Renewable Energy. She is the host of a TV docu series called Power to the People which profiles renewable energy in Indigenous communities. Read More >
Melina is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. Melina holds a Master’s degree in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria with a focus on Renewable Energy. As a part of her master’s thesis Melina implemented a 20.8 kW solar project in her home community of Little Buffalo which powers the health centre in the heart of the tar sands. Melina has studied, campaigned and worked in Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Canada and across Europe focusing on resource extraction, climate change impacts, media literacy and Indigenous rights & responsibilities.
In 2021, Melina was named one of the 26 Climate Champions in Canada by the Canada Climate Law Initiative. She has also been recognized for her work throughout the years, being named as a social and climate justice influencer by Global Citizen, and profiled by Elle Magazine, Chatelaine, Flare, CBC, 350.org and Refinery29. She received the Canadian Eco-Hero Award in 2019 by Planet in Focus.
Melina has campaigned to build brighter futures alongside icons including Jane Fonda, David Suzuki, Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein. She has been invited to speak before hundreds of audiences over the years including in the US Congress, the Harvard Law Forum, in British Parliament and numerous international organizations like Amnesty International while campaigning globally for climate justice.
Melina has worked on social justice issues since she was a teenager, focusing on media literacy in print & film making at the Indigenous Media Arts Group and Redwire Native Media Society. Her extensive advocacy is deeply rooted in her first-hand experience as an Indigenous woman. Her first time being on a blockade was in her community’s struggle to protect their homelands at the tender age of 7 years old. The impacts of the oil tar sands on her home community compelled her to be a strong voice from a young age. It is from her love for her community and for Mother Earth that she draws her convictions to stand up for environmental rights, climate justice, and Indigenous-led movement building.
Melina also works on the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women after the suspicious death of her sister Bella whose case still remains unsolved. Melina currently serves on the boards of NDN Collective, Seeding Sovereignty as well as the Executive Steering Committee of Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise. Read Less ^
United Shades of America Interview | CNN
A Just Transition to an Equitable Future
The World is Watching
Power to the People
Violence Against the Earth is Violence Against Women
On the Pervasiveness of Western Culture
The path toward a cleaner, safer and more just world means reconciliation with all women, girls and Mother Nature alike. If we are serious about social equity for all women and girls - especially Indigenous women - we must recognize that violence against Earth is violence against women.
Melina speaks on the need to unpack the patriarchal, racist and colonial mentalities of our societies to move towards justice. In this talk, she addresses the reasons why Indigenous women’s lives are not valued and how that devaluation is related to the devaluation of our natural world — which Indigenous Peoples call Mother Earth.
In this talk, Melina shares how Indigenous communities are implementing clean energy projects, and how women in particular are creating climate solutions critical to addressing the growing impacts of climate change. Indigenous communities are on the frontlines of fighting resource extraction and climate change, but they are also on the frontlines of solutions. Growing up in one of the world’s most intensive fossil fuel extraction zones on the planet in the Alberta tar sands, Melina became increasingly aware that our current global energy strategy is unsustainable. After witnessing a massive oil spill in her home community, she dedicated her advocacy work to building renewable energy solutions that are key to a community’s health and vitality.
A Just Transition places Indigenous communities at the forefront of the energy transition to ensure that our future energy system does not reproduce the imbalances and inequities of the current one. Indigenous Peoples are already leading the way towards this transition. Melina shares evocative stories of climate action taking place across North America.
How do we create a future that is rooted in sustainability and reciprocal relationships with the Natural world? Read More >
For us to truly solve the climate crisis — we need a global paradigm shift back to understanding and living within the natural laws of our Earth. We must relearn how to live in reciprocity with the land. It comes as no surprise, as indicated by our current climate crisis that humans do not have dominion over the Earth. Our relationship with the Natural world cannot be a transactional one, we have seen this fail time and time again.
There needs to be a widespread understanding of what Indigenous Peoples have always known. What we do to the land, we do to ourselves. Humanity has lost this sacred connection to the Earth — this is why we are now living in an era of consequence. Read Less ^
"Melina Laboucan-Massimo was the perfect keynote for our Earth Week events. She was able to speak about decolonization and environmental justice in ways that were accessible and impactful for a diverse audience. As an environmental center that puts justice and equity at center of our mission, Melina's ability to weave the history of indigenous people with current issues related to environmental justice and renewable energy, perfectly embodied what we stand for. I received many comments thanking us for bringing her to speak to our campus."
"I am writing to thank you for teaching this absolutely amazing session yesterday at the UNITED Conference! Several attendees shared with me that you provided an incredible session and I could not agree more. Thank you for your time, effort, and for sharing your expertise with us."
"I write to confirm that Melina Laboucan-Massimo is an excellent speaker with a lot of experience speaking before large and prestigious crowds such as the United Nations. She knows how to express herself eloquently and interestingly."
"Melina Laboucan-Massimo is a powerful speaker and an inspiring force for climate justice and the rights of Indigenous people. We were incredibly fortunate to have her join a panel for the keynote event of our 2021 Community Summit: Towards Equity. Grounding her talk in her experience with the devastating impacts of an oil spill in her community of Little Buffalo, she made clear that Indigenous communities bear the brunt of harm from extractive industries and climate change. Linking this with the ongoing violence against Indigenous women, she voiced a powerful call for decolonization. She also offered a clear vision for a just transition, sharing stories of Indigenous-led community solar projects that point a way to a cleaner, more equitable future. Melina left us with stirring calls to action and hard-won wisdom on how to protect ourselves from the psychological wounds of pursuing climate justice, centered on the ideals of healing justice."
"Melina opened up to the student audience and generously shared her experiences with us. She connected her personal experience to the larger issues of climate justice in an accessible way. Her talk resonated with our audience and served as a call to action."
"Melina Laboucan-Massimo is one of the most remarkable people on this continent. Time and again she's raised the most important questions facing us, and helped supply the answers. I know that listening to her speak can help change one's life: her vivid accounting of the damage done in Alberta's tar sands helped convince me to join in the ultimately successful fight against the Keystone Pipeline. But I've learned so much more from her: about missing and endangered Indigenous women, about the possibility that Native communities could help lead the charge on renewable energy, about the daily courage it takes to make change. I'd listen to her talk about just about anything, confident that it would connect, and that it would motivate."
“Melina Laboucan-Massimo is among the most visionary climate justice leaders in the world. When few even knew it was happening, she raised the international alarm about the impact of tar sands extraction on Indigenous people in Northern Alberta, helping to build a transformational movement that has blocked multiple new pipeline projects. In her riveting presentations, she shares first-hand experience of the devastating impacts of pipeline spills on her own territory as well as the connections between violence against the land and violence against Indigenous women. But Melina also leaves her audiences with a powerful and credible hope for the future, as she shows what can happen when the tools of renewable energy are put in the hands of frontline Indigenous communities and rooted in respect of land rights. I don’t know anyone who brings these threads together like Melina. Listening to her is a lifechanging experience.”
“We invited Melina to speak to our Leading Social Justice Fellowship, a leadership development initiative for individuals from the public, private, and community sectors who want to rebuild an equitable and inclusive city. From the first to the last minute, Melina created a highly engaging and intimate space, as she deftly threaded her personal story and experiences in to the work of social, environmental and healing justice, unwinding the complexity of the issues. From the start of the session Fellows felt welcomed in and could see their role in advancing this work in their personal, professional and organizational lives. Melina’s presentation and subsequent conversation afterwards was as one fellow put it – ‘so thought-provoking, empowering, and motivational, I could’ve listened to her speak for three hours.’ By the end of our time together Fellows were deeply reflective and inspired to take further action on how they want to show up in the world. She has our unreserved recommendation for delivering an essential set of insights with a unique ability to make them land with a range of audiences.”
This is an Honour Song Twenty Years Since the Blockades
A Line in the Tar Sands Struggles for Environmental Justice Brut: La ruée vers l'or noir
Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization
Email Your List
You’ve reached your maximum number of speakers for this list.
Email Your List