Youths read out environmental declaration; Biodiversity and clean air important…

Youths read out environmental declaration; Biodiversity and clean air important…

by John Symon –

Until a few weeks ago, the St. Jacques Escarpment Eco-Territory seemed a forgotten piece of woodland. Montreal is ostensibly “protecting” this green space sandwiched between St. Jacques Street and the former Pullman Street, but many local businesses use the slope as a dump. Few people venture into this urban green space. In August, contractors working for the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ) bulldozed about 10 percent of the 20-hectare Eco-Territory to make way for the Turcot highway project.

Lisa Mintz, who recently founded the environmental group, Sauvons la falaise, is bubbling with enthusiasm about saving her cherished woodland escarpment. She has already enlisted support from other environmental groups and many local politicians, often leading them on walks through the Eco-Territory. Now she has joined with a group of youths from the NDG YMCA who made an important declaration on a recent walk:

“We are the representatives of the C-Vert program of CDN-NDG. Thanks to our interest in nature, we are working to protect the environment and to reduce humanity’s negative impacts. Forests are the lungs of the Earth and the Saint Jacques Escarpment is very important to Montrealers. Biodiversity and clean air on the island of Montreal depend on this natural sanctuary. Preceding generations have enjoyed a healthier environment than that which we know today, and we will work to ensure that our generation and the generations that follow will have the same chance. We seek a green world for our future and, as such, we commit ourselves to protecting our environment,” read the youths in a declaration on the Escarpment on Nov. 15.

Chloé Boone leads the C-Vert group: some 30 teens aged 14—16. “The purpose of the program is to get youths involved in environmental actions and activities in their communities. Activities range from building and distributing birdhouses to actions such as working with (Sauvons la falaise).”

The video underlines the importance of protecting urban green spaces in general. “It’s a beautiful space,” participant Nathalia Thomas says on the video. “The fact that they are throwing old tires and garbage down here is really disgusting.”

Patrick Barnard, a Dawson College journalism professor, accompanied the group and videotaped the bilingual declaration. “I will send this to Canadian delegates going to the Paris Climate Change Summit,” he said in November.

And there are plans for public access to the Escarpment: “I am extremely interested in getting the east-west bike path from Ville St-Pierre/Montreal West to St-Henri along the bottom of the falaise open,” NDG councillor Peter McQueen told us. He has accompanied Mintz on the walks. “Many cyclists using it is the best way to continue pressure on the city centre to get a permanent clean up of debris and tires done.”

Barnard’s video

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