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Le Club du droit de la Terre was interviewed by the Swedish TV network SVT in the winter of 2016. Photo: Courtesy of Marie-Pierre Boudreau.

Club pursues reusable diningware project, Gatineau biodiversity charter

The University of Ottawa’s Club du droit de la Terre (Environmental Law Club) has been making active changes on campus as of late. They recently started a faculty campaign to ban the use of throwaway cutlery and plates, and instead opt for reusable, biodegradable replacements.

Marie-Pierre Boudreau, a third-year civil law student at the U of O and current president of Le Club du droit de la Terre, was inspired to join the club after meeting its founder, Frederique Grenier, in 2014.

“I always wanted to do something about the environmental crisis, so when I understood with law you could do that and force governments to act on those issues, I chose that,” Boudreau said.

The campaign started with the initiative to do away with plastic cutlery and plates for faculty events. To encourage this transition, they placed recycling and compost bins in the Fauteux building during these events.

In 2015, the club members worked with the Faculty of Law to instate a policy which would only allow reusable cutlery and plates at all events.   

Boudreau and her colleagues also introduced the policy at the March 2016 General Assembly, but it failed to pass.

Despite this setback, the club pursued the issue and spoke about the policy during the Faculty of Law student club meeting this month. All the clubs in attendance agreed to add the policy of reusable cutlery and plates in their constitution.

While the club’s efforts initially focused on the U of O campus, they have already achieved international recognition, having been contacted by the Swedish television network SVT to do a segment on Canada and the environment in the winter of 2016.

“It was a good experience just to be able to talk on TV and it’s on an issue we all care about,” Boudreau said.

Boudreau and the rest of the club are now expanding beyond their reusable dining ware campaign. Currently, they are involved with the drafting of a biodiversity charter for the City of Gatineau.

The project’s supervisor is David Robitaille, a civil law professor at the U of O, who is working with the centre Québécois du droit de l’environnement.

“It’s a great opportunity for us … it gives all the students really good practical experience. They are actually building the chart for biodiversity and they all have to do all the work that comes with it,” said Boudreau.  

Le Club du droit de la Terre is also planning an upcoming conference on the role of Canada’s Indigenous people in environmental issues, which will feature Jennifer O’Bomsawin from the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador youth network.

As of the date of this publication, the date for the conference has not yet been finalized. For more information about Le Club du droit de la Terre, visit their Facebook page.