5 questions for Festivals et événements verts de l’Estrie

FEVE managing waste materials and raising public awareness of sustainable development. Photo credit : Jocelyn Riendeau

 

Cascades is pleased to support innovative and environmentally responsible projects that move us and inspire us. This week, our team has chosen to shine a spotlight on Festivals et événements verts de l’Estrie (FEVE). This organization is run by youth who are ready to take on any challenge they face.

You may have notice the FEVE team at events in the Eastern Townships, managing waste materials and raising public awareness of sustainable development. Headed by the Conseil régional de l’environnement de l’Estrie (CREE), FEVE was founded with the mission of ensuring the sustainability of the equipment donated by the 2013 Canada Games Host Society.

How can you manage waste for an event that hosts 10,000 people? By mobilizing a green squad to get involved when people throw garbage in the trash! That’s no small challenge. To learn more, our team asked five questions to FEVE coordinator Catherine Villeneuve, a fearless and committed ecologist.

Catherine, if you had to tell the story of FEVE in three sentences, how would it go?

FEVE was created with the goal of making the Eastern Townships an environmentally responsible region. It was no accident that the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke organized the most sustainable Games in history! The organization had developed expertise in holding environmentally responsible events, and this know-how had to remain strong in the region. So, FEVE took over the reins from the Canada Games’ Green Team and continued its mission throughout the Eastern Townships.

FEVE was created out of the desire to make the Canada Games greener. In your view, what were the most inspiring outcomes of these eco-friendly Games?

First, the incredible work of the Host Society in planning and organizing sustainable Games, with the help of the Green Team’s work on the ground. All these efforts made it possible to reclaim more than 80% of the waste generated during the Games. That’s a very impressive result for an event of this scale. The most inspiring thing for me is the number of people who mobilized and wore the green jersey during the Games. More than 300 volunteers were trained in order to improve waste management.

When FEVE was created in 2014, 160 people were added to those first 300. That’s one of the things that make me proudest about my job: seeing volunteers’ increased awareness of the importance of responsible waste management after working with FEVE during an event.

Photo credit: Festivals et événements verts de l’Estrie

You provide various services for event organizers, businesses and organizations. What event are you most proud of?

The Festival des traditions du monde is one of the events we are proudest of working with. Over the years they have developed a terrific eco-friendly approach and they’re always seeking to improve. Volunteers and organizations have excellent awareness, and we have great collaboration with them on the ground. The Green Team is also very well received by the public at this event. In 2014, we saw a significant improvement in the rate of waste reclamation, thanks to the work of organizers and FEVE—that’s an achievement we’re proud of.

Young people who are part of the Green Squad during events must have some funny stories. Please tell us the funniest (but not too gross, please).

When you’re managing waste at an event, you get all kinds of reactions from the public, and there are plenty of stories to tell! We also find surprising items like umbrellas, mittens, boots, and so on. Some volunteers had a great time playing with bubble guns they found in the garbage. We also invented “tri-hockey” with tipped-over garbage bins as goals, garbage for sorting as pucks, and hockey sticks. We also had a very popular event: a competition for throwing the most garbage bags into a container. The Green Team really knows how to have fun.

Do you have any eco-confession to tell us? No one’s perfect; how would you like to improve your daily habits in terms of waste reduction? (Just between you and me.)

The easiest waste to manage is that which doesn’t get produced at all. I try to apply that principle in my daily life as much as possible. But it’s not easy, and it demands a certain level of organization. For lunch, I often (once or twice a week) end up buying my lunch, which is wrapped up in individual packaging. I’d like to reduce this amount, and always bring lunch from home—which would help my wallet, as well!

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About the Author
Florence Côté-Fortin

Florence joined Cascades as a Communications Advisor in 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications, writing and multimedia – Cooperative program from the Université de Sherbrooke. Curious by nature, her work as a Communications Advisor means that she gets to learn new things about new topics every day. “I enjoy sharing with Cascaders who work in fields other than my own. I believe that this quality is absolutely necessary for anyone working in areas related to communications. I am proud to work for a company that is responsible, people-oriented and transparent. Cascades has a very distinct personality which, in my opinion, makes it a jewel of the Québec business community.”

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