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CUPE is kicking off a series of videos leading up to Clean Air Day, where CUPE activists talk about steps they are taking to reduce their environmental footprint, with an interview with Maryam Haghighi, a member of CUPE 2626. CUPE 2626 represents students employed at the University of Ottawa.

Her local has recently committed to going green – and putting in place a strong environmental program for the local. They passed a general motion at their membership meeting that states:

The Regular General Assembly of CUPE 2626 held on November 6, 2008 ratified that CUPE 2626 shall follow procedures in attaining a greener local status. The Local will form a Green Action Committee in order to promote and follow sustainable practices.”

To put this into practice, they are already taking the following steps:

  • Eliminating paper copies of the collective agreement for distribution among its members – saving approximately 1,400,000 sheets of paper each time the CA had to be printed.
  • Holding completely paperless executive meetings.
  • Putting an electricity conservation program in place at their office.
  • Establishing a green procurement program that emphasizes buying locally.
  • Banning bottled water at membership meetings.
  • Scheduling membership meetings to coincide with regular campus hours, to avoid extra commuting.
  • Encouraging walking and public transit for membership travel to campus.

All of these steps – and others – have improved the environmental impact of workers by cutting greenhouse gas and other harmful air emissions, reducing waste, and saving energy. CUPE 2626 is an environmental leader and sets a great example for how other CUPE locals can go green.

For the next week until Clean Air Day on June 5th, we will be posting one video per day on CUPE’s environment page.