Are you facing re-zoning, a development project, logging or other projects threatening the natural environment, the jewel of your community? It can be infuriating, frightening, and even heartbreaking. However, we must remain hopeful. You are not alone in this fight. This little guide is a short list of resources, as a first step to help you in your fight.
This type of issue is neither the first nor the last in the geopolitical territory that is Canada. Our governments do not always share the same vision nor the same priorities. It will take visibility and persistence on your part. You have to act quickly, but also understand that this fight can last for years, so preserve your health. Although Greenpeace would like to be at the forefront of all injustices, we do not always have the capacity, nor the resources. This is why we are sharing this guide *. Victory comes through public mobilization, hence the importance of having change agents like you on the ground.
11 Practical tips to help you get involved :
- Join a local organizations working on municipal environmental issues, or at the regional level, such as the Conseils régionaux de l’environnement (CRE).
- Network and form alliances with other citizen groups, activists, and environmentalists battling similar issues via the RQGE Directory (ex : Green Coalition, Coalition Mont-Kaaikop, APLK, APMCC, Mobilisation Matawini, QuébecMeilleureMine).
- Equip your actions and claims with the RQGE Toolbox (eg: how to make an official access to information request, or how to create an action).
- Seek legal counsel and representation! Your case may deal with various jurisdictions or other constraints. In all cases, see EcoJustice, CQDE, and / or the LegalCompass for pro-bono services.
- Involve elected officials at municipal, regional and provincial levels. (Also see our How-to guide for virtual bird-dogging)
- Get media attention for your campaigns and civic actions. (see our guide Getting media for your Campaign or Grassroots Action)
- Utilize public consultations and environmental assessments, such as the BAPE, as appropriate.
- Finance a protected area project with the Fonds des municipalités pour la biodiversité.
- Share articles or blogs, which we can all post on social media.
- Start a citizen-led petition, or a formal political petition, and educate your neighbors.
- Don’t give up the great work you are doing! However, it is important to find the support of various people so as not to exhaust yourself and to divide the tasks and expertise.
The real strength of the movement lies in committed citizens, ready to defend their piece of paradise, for a question of health, well-being, biodiversity, social justice, and/or climate.
*Most of the advice above is only relevant in Quebec, but to find help in other provinces and territories, please consult environmental organizations and networks in Ontario, New-Brunswik, Nova Scotia, P.E.I, Newfounland & Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British-Columbia, Yukon Territory, North-West Territories, and Nunavut.