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‘Sustainability tour’ to be kicked off by David Suzuki visit

by Archives March 25, 2008

A series of sustainability conferences is set to take place at universities across Quebec this spring. The Generations Pact tour will travel to 10 universities, including Concordia, from March 26 until April 3.
The conferences, organized by Concordia graduates Peter Schiefke and Christophe Dossarps; will feature a wide array of guest speakers, including environmentalist David Suzuki who will speak at Concordia April 3. Also on the bill will be Steven Guilbeault from Equiterre, and Desiree McGraw, spokesperson for Al Gore’s Climate Project in Canada.
The tour’s main sponsors include Concordia University and the Concordia-student funded “sustainable action fund.”
Last March, Concordia students launched the 1% Campaign to create the “sustainable action fund” on campus. The 25-cent per-credit fee levy is intended to make Concordia one of the most sustainable universities in Canada. The fund currently supplies students with $150,000 per year for sustainable projects on campus.
“We want students from other Quebec universities to realize the power is in their hands to bring forth actions that will make their universities more sustainable. We want to rally students to say yes to creating a sustainability fund,” said Gabriel Bran Lopez, director of communications for the Generations Pact.
The Generations Pact tour isn’t raising money, but one of their objectives is to get the Quebec government to match dollar for dollar any additional student funds put aside for sustainability initiatives.
“We’ve been in talks with Quebec’s Environment Minister to match these funds. What we’re saying is let’s collaborate, if we as students can put money aside, the government can do so as well,” said Lopez.
The minister’s answer will be revealed at the Generations Pact tour-closing gala, to be held April 3 at the Biosphere.
The Generations Pact also hopes to perform a sustainability assessment report for the universities who haven’t yet completed one and are asking the Environment Minister to help fund this. They also want to ensure that every university in Quebec has a sustainability fund, like Concordia’s, to facilitate student endeavours.
The Quebec Alliance of Youth Chambers of Commerce, Sierra Youth Coalition, the Quebec Alliance of National Councils for the Environment, and the presidents of the 17 Quebec university students associations are all partners of the Generations Pact. They have agreed to offer their services and support to students interested in developing sustainability projects at their schools.
“As soon as funds will be implemented, students can come to them and use their resources to get expertise, knowledge and advice,” said Lopez.
The hope is that these collaborations will establish a network of students in Quebec and around the globe, who through the sharing of information and ideas can work together to offset the effects of climate change.
“The facts are there, if we don’t do something now, the effects of climate change will be irreversible. Students have the power to do it, they just have to put in a little effort,” said Lopez.

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