“Getting involved is exhilarating, and anyone can do it!”
These are the inspiring words of Gabriel Meunier, chair of Équiterre’s Lanaudière action group (GAEL). Gabriel lives and breathes the environment. By day he’s a project manager for the Lanaudière regional environment council and by night he’s active in community groups—on the go nearly 24/7!
A rewarding and fulfilling commitment
“I identify with Équiterre’s values and enjoy building community spirit with others,” he says. In spring 2014, Gabriel helped organize the Peoples’ Walk for Mother Earth in Terrebonne aimed at encouraging people to get more involved and take action. The event was also an opportunity to connect with various regional organizations. “It was solidarity in action, and just goes to show that we can achieve great things, even with few resources.”
Last autumn, the group organized a door-to-door blitz to raise awareness among Terrebonne residents living near the Enbridge pipeline. Gabriel’s team of just 12 volunteers managed to collect more than 200 signatures for the Say No to Tar Sands petition in just one day.
“We focused on those neighbourhoods as we thought people there would be the most concerned about pipeline issues, but much more still needs to be done to sensitize residents to the harmful impact of TransCanada’s Energy East project,” he continues.
Gabriel and his team have definitely managed to draw attention to the dangers of a pipeline in the Terrebonne and Mascouche areas. There have been 21 articles about it in local newspapers in the last year and the activities organized by Gabriel’s team mobilized more than 1,200 people in 2014! Not bad for a little place with a population of 150,000.
The plan for 2015
“We’ll continue voicing the community’s opposition to the Energy East project through various activities. We want to question politicians about the pipeline project, get municipal resolutions passed and organize local rallies.
“We’re making a change thanks to our dedicated volunteers, who don’t even count the hours they put in. It’s great to see people getting so involved. That’s what keeps me going,” says Gabriel.
All this under his belt and he’s still under 25—impressive! Well done, Gabriel!