Stories from Past and Present Enviro Team Members: Early Days


Hans and Margo Elfert

From Margo Elfert:

I have a memory of having a conversation at the retreat in 1995 with someone about starting up an environment committee, The reply I got was “Who told you you could do that?” I was pretty new to the church, so didn’t know the protocol I guess, but we did it anyway. At that time the Social Justice Committee and the Refugee Committee were very strong, but it was a little “new” to have a separate committee on the environment.

One of the first things we did was to work with B&G in consultation with BC Hydro to determined possible energy savings that we could implement immediately. Light bulbs and weather stripping were things we could accomplish. We would have lunches with the menu, and what we were supporting on the sign. I think this is when our “Green Fund” started.

I have my first record of an Earth Day Service in April 1997. We have done a service every year since.

In 2002 we discovered UUA’s Green Sanctuary Project, and it gave us some more direction. We used it as a guideline, but I’m not sure if we ever jumped through enough hoops to get our “Green Sanctuary” plaque.


From Karl Perrin:

Yes it was Elaine Clemons.  As I recall from Patience Towler who did a historical sketch of enviro activities, Elaine started recycling at UCV in about 1969.  I respected her as both an early environmental activist and a wonderful VSB Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP).
When I was a therapeutic tutor (with a degree in Speech Therapy) I went to her for advice on a student with stuttering.  She was very kind and supportive, since in those days stuttering was thought to be 100% behavioural.  Now we know it is largely neurological.
At her memorial service, I remember her being lauded as a founding member of Burns Bog Conservation Society.  I was one of a multi-faith group who went into the bog, guided by Don DeMill, on the first pilgrimage in 1999?
In 2007 Sister Cecilia and I revived it, with help from Rex Weyler and Ben West, in 2007 as the Pilgrimage to Burns Bog, as a way to fight the Gateway project, especially Hwy 17, the South Fraser Perimeter Road.  We managed to get some amendment to the route to protect an eagle nesting site (Sherwood Forest on Nottingham’s farm), but lost the war.  Nevertheless the Pilgrimage to Burns Bog, recognizing it as a sacred site, continues every Earth Day Sunday. UCV has a long history protecting Burns Bog.
And then there’s Noel and Joan Armstrong and their 1979 solar house in Dunbar.
Lots of stories..




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