On March 29th, the association Sauvons la Falaise organised a peaceful gathering to protest against the decision of the owner of the Meadowbrook Golf course in Cote Saint Luc to cut down old silver maple trees. This event is part of the association’s general fight for the preservation of old trees in Montreal. CKUT reporter Chloe interviewed the founder of the association, Lisa Mintz, and an active member, Louise Chenevert, to get more information about the protest and the general state of tree preservation policies in Montreal.
“Imagine if you went outside in the spring and didn’t hear any birds singing […] you would feel inside that there is something missing” -Lisa Mintz
Lisa Mintz created Sauvons la Falaise to protect the falaise St-Jacques, a four-kilometer forester area between the Turcot Interchange and Montreal West. In this interview, she explains the ecological and cultural value of trees for people living in Montreal. She also denounces the state of the city’s tree policy: few trees are being planted every year, laws are not implemented consistently and trees are being cut down without the consent of local residents.
In 2012, the city of Montreal decided to launch the Plan d’action Canopée, an ambitious project to plant 300 000 news trees over 10 years. While this might be a positive step towards the preservation of green spaces in Montreal, this plan overlooks the difference between new and old trees. As Louise Chenevert explains in this interview, older trees have a greater capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, their roots prevent erosion and they contribute to reduce urban temperatures.
“Sure they can replace trees in a few years with a little sapling that’s got have a dozen leaves on it but that cannot possibly replace a tree that’s got a huge canopy and that does an incredible amount of work for the environment” – Louise Chenevert
It is the Schéma d’aménagement et de développement de l’agglomération de Montréal that sets out the conditions under which Montrealers can cut down trees. According to Jonathan Théorêt, the director of the GRAME, these conditions are quite loose. While some municipalities systematically require a permit to cut down trees, it is not the case in all legislatures. CKUT reporter Chloe discussed with him the GRAME’s proposals to solve this problem.
More, More, I want more!
Contact Lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Louise (514 464 9094) to get involved with Sauvons la Falaise or for any further questions. They are thrilled to answer any questions about starting your own environmental association. Check out their facebook page
Tree Planting! Sauvons la Falaise will be planting trees on March the 2nd (9am) with NDG WMAC [meeting place: St-Jacques and Cavendish]. BYP- bring your own poetry about trees.
On March the 15th, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) officially released its report Out in the Cold on the state of the Toronto shelter system . The study’s findings are based on numerous interviews with service users and workers. It points out to a shelter system in crisis, plagued by constant overcrowding, harsh living conditions and a city government unwilling to take action.
CKUT reporter Chloe interviewed one of the writers of this report for a summary of the OCAP’s findings. Some of the statistics are hard to believe. For instance, 81% of the people surveyed stated that they had been denied a shelter bed because the shelters were full (see the chart above)! Equally shocking, in most shelters occupancy levels exceeded 90% every night. This is highly problematic given that overcrowded shelters lead to a high stress environment, a poor night’s rest and health issues. Luckily, OCAP volunteers and engaged citizens are taking action against this situation. Check out this video to get an idea of the scope of the protests happening in Toronto.
To get a sense of the state of the shelter system in Montreal, we also interviewed Francois Boissy who is the director of operations at La Maison du Pere, one of the largest homeless shelters in the city. He points out some of the differences between the way the cities of Toronto and Montreal deal with their homeless populations.
Aside from the administrative aspect of the shelter systems of Toronto and Montreal, an important question remains: “how does it feel, for people on the ground, to experience the shelter system in both cities?” Michel, an ex-homeless man that lived on the streets for two years from 2009-2011, explained to our reporter his personal experience with Montreal shelters. In this fascinating interview he talks about the reasons why he became an itinerant in the first place, the different shelters he slept in, food conditions and how shelter services helped him get out of the streets. We are truly grateful for his trust in sharing this story, the full interview is available for stream and download below.
Harsha Walia : author of Undoing Border Imperialism, co-founder of No One Is Illegal Mostafa Henaway : community/labour organizer and long-time Palestine solidarity activist
Toghestiy : grassroots land defender and Hereditary Chief of the Wet’suwet’en Likhts’amisyu Clan
Freda Huson : spokesperson and land defender of the Unist’ot’en Camp in British Columbia
Author and activist Chris Dixon recently released his new book“Another Politics: Talking Across Today’s Transformative Movements” on the University of California Press. Dixon is a long-time anarchist activist and community organizer, originally from Alaska, and now living in Ottawa. His book is based on over 200 interviews and conversations with grassroots organziers, looking at the currents and tendencies which are inspiring some of today’s most exciting movements for justice.