30 years of commitment!

by Catherine Stratford (February 2020)

On January 27, 1990, a group of citizens met at the Hemmingford Town Hall following a request by the Chamber of Commerce and the Hemmingford WI to start up an environment committee. Many young families came together and formed the Hemmingford Environment Committee. Their first mandate was to set up a Recycling Program in Hemmingford.

30 years have gone by, the first 10 years were devoted to setting up Recycling in the Community. This included a Community project to build a Recycling Depot (the present Eco-Centre), which won one of the first Phenix Prizes (Prix Phénix) for environmental innovation in Quebec (1995). The trophy for this prize is now at the Hemmingford Archives.

Over the years, the Environment Committee has organized various outdoor activities, such as hikes, bicycle tours, X-country ski outings, canoe rides down the English River in the spring time.

On a more serious note, the HEC has alerted citizens of different threats to our environment that have arisen over the years (tire dumps, shale gas mining, zinc mining, industrial hog farms, the spreading of human sludge on fields, just to mention a few). The Hemmingford Community Library has also supported this effort by showing movies related to these themes.

HEC has also worked in conjunction with the municipal council to improve protection of our environment, (recycling, improving the by-laws regulating tree-cutting in Hemmingford to protect wetlands and existing trees and to develop sustainable woodlot management practices). These practices protect the Agro-touristic nature of our region.

Our present mandate is more one of education and working with the municipality to improve the protection of our environment.

For over 25 years, HEC has been involved in organizing the distribution of free–trees to local schools and residents. This educational and environmental program offered by the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks, is sponsored by the Quebec 4-H Clubs. Since 2013, The distribution has been included in the “Fête des Jardins”, a spring plant- and seed- and garden tool-exchange. We hope to repeat this event in May 2020. Look for posters announcing the event in early May.

Recent efforts have been made to improve the existing Recycling program, for example” Opération Verre-vert” promoting consignment of glass bottles and articles written in Info-Hemmingford to promote Zero-Waste practices. HEC is a member of the “Front Commun Québécois pour une Gestion Écologique des Déchets” (FCQGED), the main association in Quebec devoted to finding solutions in waste management and reducing, reusing and recycling (3R).

We hope to see Hemmingford meet the goal set by the Quebec Government to remove all organic waste matter from the waste being sent to landfill sites. The mixing of organic matter into landfill waste is one of the most important sources of Greenhouse Gases, contributing greatly to Climate Change. From 25 to 30 times more than Carbon Dioxide. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327111724.htm

In 2017, a group of HEC members got together to develop a list of ideas of how our community could help in the fight against Climate Change. This list has been presented to the Hemmingford Councils, we are waiting to see how the community will implement some of these ideas. We will publish the list in the next edition of Info-Hemmingford.

Are you concerned about our environment? Do you like to be proactive? Would you like to contribute to the fight against Climate Change? If so, please come and join The Hemmingford Environment Committee at their Annual General Meeting and Potluck supper, on March 14 at 5pm, at the Hemmingford Recreational Center (the small conference room). You can also join the Hemmingford Environment Committee’s mailing list, by contacting me at catherinestratford80@gmail.com or (450) 247-3538