David Suzuki contest
--- Local environment project competition with cash prizes, deadline this week
As part of the David Suzuki Foundation’s seventh annual provincial Prix demain le Québec awards, local environmental organization Enviro Educ-Action saw its ÉCOLO-101 program recognized as one of 15 finalist projects favouring social and ecological sustainability.
Recognized among 107 applicants, a press release issued by Enviro Éduc-Action on June 1, explained that ÉCOLO-101 is a personalized ecological assistance program intended to guide families towards greener lifestyles. The program was the only project in the region to qualify for both the competition’s Coup de cœur (favourite project) and Prix du jury categories. The Prix du jury laureate will win $5,000, a virtual meeting with David Suzuki, and media exposure, while the Coup de cœur winner will receive $2,500. The contest also includes a youth prize – Prix jeunesse – which also comes with $2,500.
A biodiversity initiative called Toi, mon espèce rare led by the Coopérative de solidarité des forêts et des gens in Ripon was nominated in the youth category.
Until June 15, people are encouraged to vote for their favourite project on the contests’ website. Prize winners will be announced on June 17 at 6 pm during a Facebook live event with the presence of David Suzuki himself and entertainment courtesy of Les Cowboys Fringants and other guests.
In the program’s first year, extending 12 weeks between November 2020 and February 2021, Enviro Éduc-Action helped 11 families (41 people) transition towards more ecologically responsible habits by encouraging concrete actions in the way of engaging challenges favouring waste-reduction, sustainable consumption, and responsible transportation. It stated that the program saw a reduction of 2.25 kg of waste per person per week, and 131 km less mileage per person per year.
Enviro Éduc-Action says the program also contributed to an average reduction of 49 per cent in household waste, an average 42 per cent drop in quantities of recyclable materials – thanks to packing-reduction measures in the homes of participating families – and an average decrease of 47 per cent in compost. Enviro Éduc-Action Executive Director Geneviève Carrier said ÉCOLO-101 is special because it is customizable to different families with the goal of helping them meet their objectives and addressing the environmental issues that most concern them, one step at a time. “The family members of the first cohort are true agents of change and ambassadors for their community,” Carrier said in the press release. “They have made a significant contribution to the success of this program!” She stated that the program was inspired as a tool to educate families on how to begin becoming more ecologically responsible, and how to sustain such habits. “The best way to help people is to work with them for an extended period of time, and help them,” Carrier said. While winning the cash prize would be fantastic for the organization, Carrier said simply being nominated as a finalist means a huge deal.
Currently recruiting families for the program’s second edition, starting this summer, Carrier told the Aylmer Bulletin that it should extend from early July to late September. Until June 10, families interested in participating in the program are encouraged to submit their candidacy by filling out an online registration form or to participate in a virtual information session on the matter on June 7.
Enviro Éduc-Action’s first edition was financially supported by a number of local partners, including the provincial government and the city of Gatineau’s Green Fund, Brigil, 104.7 Outaouais, La Boîte à Grains, and municipal councillors Audrey Bureau (Aylmer), Maude Marquis-Bissonnette (Plateau), and Myriam Nadeau (Pointe-Gatineau).
A partnership between the David Suzuki Foundation and Desjardins supported by Nature’s Way, the Prix Demain de Québec is an annual contest dedicated to recognizing and rewarding citizen engagement and initiatives favouring socioecological transitioning in the province.
Along with the goal of encouraging people to initiate more projects, the contest is also about encouraging people to do their part in saving the environment in their respective communities.