Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen in Cornwall Ontario as CCRI Launches Cap for Youth Project – by Markus Noé – January 8, 2010

Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen in Cornwall Ontario as CCRI Launches Cap for Youth Project – by Markus Noé – January 8, 2010

CCRI Launches Cap for Youth Project

Ontario’s Environment Minister John Gerretsen came to the Cornwall Square today to launch the Cornwall Carbon Reduction Initiative’s (CCRI) new program, Cap for Youth.

This was the premiere of the “Climate Awareness Project for Youth”.

This project is an extension of the Liberal governments Ministry of the Environment’s Community Go Green Fund.

The Cap for Youth program received 64,000 dollars in funding to help with the development of today’s presentation.

Jennifer Mattice, project coordinator for the CCRI explained that the project doesn’t just end with today’s demonstration when she said, “today’s event was the launch of the Cap for Youth and we do hope that it will become an annual event.

We are going to put together a “how to” book on how to set up a Cap for Youth program so other communities can replicate what we did here.”

There were various stations set up for the presentation, all of them were geared towards the effect people have on the environment.

One display outlined an individual’s carbon footprint by how and where they live. Through a series of questions grain was added into the footprint display.

By the end of the questions if the grain was below the marked line which represented the Canadian average home footprint, it was considered a pass.

Another display was set up as a trivia board which CCRI volunteer Jennifer Laundrie explained its purpose when she said, “There are two separate groups team A and team B.

The first person in each row is asked a question, if they get it the answer correct a letter is rewarded. The game is won when the word “stewardship” is spelt.

We picked this word because it means caring,”

The Go Green Fund is a four year, 6.6 million dollar plan that has come under the Province’s Climate Change Action plan that was announced in 2007.

The Chair of the CCRI Naresh Bhargava said a few words before introducing the Minister. “We believe that at an individual level locally, we can reduce our carbon footprint and thus reduce the effects of global warming, said Bhargava.

When Gerretsen took the podium he immediately outlined the vast improvement in awareness of environmental issues among the youth when he said, “I’ve been lucky enough to visit many schools and I am always amazed with amount of knowledge the youth have today on the affect we have on the environment.

There is a lot more awareness on topics such as global warming today then there were 20-30 years ago.”

The Environment Minister expressed how valuable he thinks the CCRI is when he said, “Grassroots initiatives such as the CCRI and Cap for Youth are invaluable in helping Ontarians undertake long-term behavior change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

Gerretsen also spoke about the high methane levels in land fills and how the Province is looking into ways of turning that into energy. “The methane that is in our landfills is 20 % more active than everything else we emit on a daily bases, and we are working on the technology that will convert these emissions into energy” said Gerretsen.

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide emissions have skyrocketed, and many environmentalists believe this to be the main cause of Global Warming. Gerretsen understands this when he said,” We simply cannot as a society continue to emit carbon dioxide emissions as we have been over the last 100 years. It is not easy to change the way we live. The hardest part is to change the culture we live in, the culture that is addicted to fossil fuels.”

Once Gerretsen was done speaking, Bhargava retook the podium to end the presentation. In doing so he announced that since the birth of the CCRI in 2006 Cornwall has reduced its energy consumption by 7%.

Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger speaks about CCRI, the efforts of councilors Denis Thibault and Bernadette Clement, the environment and youth’s roll to play.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJd2YG68deA

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