Brampton Environmental Alliance hosts Annual General Meeting

The Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) hosted its second annual general meeting this past Wednesday March 13th. Twenty-two individual and organizational members attended along with 9 non-members and 5 guests. Among the guests was Brampton North MPP Graham McGregor who engaged with members at the conclusion of the meeting.

The meeting started with an exercise for attendees to register their biggest environmental concerns for the City of Brampton.

Top three environmental concerns for Brampton
Litter, Biodiversity/Habitat Loss, Climate Change

The problem of garbage and litter in the City was rated as the top issue followed closely by loss of biodiversity and habitat. Climate change, climate resiliency and energy use squeaked into the top 3 concerns with water pollution right behind.

Vito Beato, President, Unifor Local 1285 provided a keynote address. In his presentation Mr. Beato talked about the importance of having well-paying jobs within a green economy and how environmental activism has helped union members and management understand how the environment factors into workers’ quality of life.

2024 BEA AGM attendees
2024 BEA AGM attendees

Local 1285 has over 8,000 members, 75% of whom work at the Brampton Stellantis (Chrysler) assembly plant. The plant is currently closed for retooling, from building “muscle” cars to building electric vehicles. The lay-offs will create a significant challenges for plant workers and industry suppliers.

Vito Beato, Keynote Address
Vito Beato, Keynote Address

Mr. Beato said that the Unifor action centre is working with more than 50 laid-off workers per day to help them through the transition, engaging both management and governments at all levels to ensure that no workers are left behind. He likened this to the environmental movement stressing the importance for unions, industry, governments and environmentalists to “stick together” to focus on the important elements and not be distracted by the “noise” as reflected in social media.

Mr. Beato’s keynote was followed by the presentation of a 5 minute video produced by Dayle Laing. The video summarizes BEA accomplishments over the past 2 1/2 years, with significant contributions from many organizational and individual members .

BEA Review of Accomplishments 2021-2023

The group was then led through a “dotmocracy” exercise to choose 5 priorities the BEA should work on in 2024. Protecting biodiversity topped the list followed closely by tree-planting and monitoring. Reducing carbon emissions coupled with air quality concerns was third. Brampton’s anti-littering campaign was fourth. Other concerns raised as a possible fifth project included, stream, lake and river water quality, especially the over-use of road salt, waste management, and land use management, specifically avoiding urban sprawl type development. The Board’s task will be to put these projects to the members and see who wants to volunteer on the areas of focus.

AGM Dotmocracy Results
AGM Dotmocracy Results

Speaking of the BEA Board, 6 Board members renewed their commitment for another year’s term including, Stacey Wilson, Harry Bridgemohan, Debbie Valentine, Rajbalinder Ghatoura, Dayle Laing and David Laing. Five new members stepped up to be part of the 2024 Board including Chaya Chengappa, Amisha Moorjani, Polly Thornham, Steve Papagiannis and Isabela Herrmann. All 11 members bring a wealth of talent and experience to this new Board that bodes well for the BEA’s organizational future.

Harry Bridgemohan, the Board’s existing Vice President/ Treasurer presented the organization’s state of finances details of which can be found with the meeting minutes posted here.

New Business included a presentation by Uday Singh Bains and Jacinta McDonnell from “Plant Based Treaty”. The purpose of their organization is to encourage a shift to plant based food to reduce carbon. Individuals, organizations and cities may endorse the Plant Based Treaty.

According to a 2023 report produced for the City of Toronto, carbon emissions from food represented 24% of that city’s total consumption-based emissions in 2019. The report also indicates that, combined meat and dairy make up the largest sources of “at-home” food emissions for households. The report recommends reducing emissions from consumption of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, in part, through education initiatives that would inform consumers of the impacts of their dietary choices. Plant Based Treaty is one way to learn more about this “person and planet healthy” alternative.

The BEA annual general meeting wrapped up at 9:15pm.

BEA Logo
BEA Logo

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