Did you know about Anse a l’Orme

Save the whales. Promote world peace. Think locally act globally. Stop the bombs.

Yes, yes yes, we’ve heard these time and again. Alot of talk. Alot of people joining together for a common cause. Showing your support to save the baby seals. All of this is fantastic and brings energy to worthy causes – but it has also become background din.

It’s not easy being green and things seem to be leaning towards more environmental tendencies, if only to save face rather than by truly embracing the principles behind these struggles. Places such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds who adopt green practices do have a silver lining, although it may seem like a pebble in the sea if you look at their socio-environmental track record.

Is buying recycled toilet paper and fluorescent light bulbs really the way to save the world? Are these corporations really bad guys? Are we innocent little minions in a world of scary corrupt politics?

Listening to defeatist us versus them jargon is one way to toss the world in the trash. If we want to start making a change, we have to sort out the garbage into what can be recycled, composted and re-used. In the end, we will see that our pile of garbage is really not as smelly and overwhelming as we once though. We just simply need to stop bitching and start a revolution.

What she said

The inclination to “save” might not be a wasted effort if it is accompanied by action. This action might be supported if it is accessible and attainable and framed in the right way. Deepening the discourse on important issues, or, preaching to the choir, is another way to move things right along, in addition to gaining supporters.

Something as simple as a petition can influence things in the right direction. Take the petition that has been living on the counter of the Coop du Grand Orme for the past year to save the Anse a l’Orme nature reserve on the West Island of Montreal.

A little known tract of land stretching from Senneville to Pierrefonds, Anse a l’Orme is a much needed sanctuary for wildlife and a good escape from urban sprawl. In the midst of it, if you can ignore all the litter and random decomposing car parts, you could be charmed into imagining what the whole island of Montreal used to look like before, well, urban sprawl.

Anse a L'Orme in the autumn

Much of it is not legally protected and municipal level decision makers are smacking their lips together imagining a surge of forest-to-condo-land transformations. There was a victory in 2008, where protection for the nature reserve was to be expanded, and it only took “years” of political pressure from environmental groups to convince governments that green spaces do have some value.

This decision was made with help from Ducks Unlimited, Canada. Much of the halted development was to be done on massive expansions of wetlands, which act as the kidneys of the land, filtering out pollutants so the rest of the ecosystem can flourish.

This could only be a momentary respite for the park and surrounding areas, which includes very productive organic farmland bordering the region.

One group that puts up a fierce fight for the green space of Montreal is the Coalition Verte. Following a political process, the group has a long history of conservation efforts that include the Anse a l’Orme region.

Despite the struggles that ensue, many of the people who enter the coop where the petition lived until recently were unaware that this huge expanse even existed. Hopefully, with more exposure and the birth of a new committee for the protection of the Anse a l’Orme region, more Montreal residents will be walking the talk and get something good out of it – the preservation of a dwindling resource. Join us!

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