During the next several weeks - leading up to the 40 Under 40 Awards - The TIMES and Ridge Meadows Recycling Society are highlighting community members - 40 and older - who have through the years made a difference in the local recycling, environmental, and sustainability movement and who serve as an inspiration to future generations.
Pamela Danz is one such person. She gets "recharged and re-energized" when she's in nature - and her love of the outdoors has inspired her to encourage the others to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Danz, a local realtor, started a ecoaction group four years ago at Thomas Haney Secondary whose mission is to raise environmental awareness through direct action and education.
Danz and the eco-action group have set up worm composters and an electric composter at the school. They are also raising awareness about bottled water and selling stainless-steel water flasks, and setting up a filtered water station for refills.
They've also run "waste weigh-ins" whereby they weigh how much garbage students have produced to highlight the amount of garbage not being recycled.
Some students in Danz' original group have already graduated, but new students have replaced them.
Danz described the students in the eco-action group as "passionate about waste reduction and environmental concerns."
The local realtor said she shares that passion for the environment and nature and wants it to remain for generations to come.
"I've always had that eye for waste reduction and how we can improve the world we live in," Danz said. "It's important for me to preserve what we have - the beauty, the nature, the beautiful planet we have."
Educating the public is also important for Danz, and through various documentaries, she's learned more about how environmentalism, citing the recent local showing of Addicted to Plastic by Cinema Politica.
Danz, who has lived in Maple Ridge for 35 years, remembers watching documentaries as a teenager that influenced how she thought about the environment and her food choices, and "made me the person I am today."
Danz is an example of someone older than 40, locally, who has been involved in environmental initiatives.
The TIMES and Ridge Meadows Recycling are asking community members to nominate 40 people under the age of 40 to be honoured for their environmentalism.
Nomination deadline is midnight, Sunday, Sept. 30. Nominees must be 39 years or younger as of Dec. 31, 2012 and be a resident of either Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, or Katzie. Categories are child, youth, and adult.
Nomination forms are available online (rmrecycling.org), at the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society's depot in Albion, and The TIMES, #2-22345 North Ave.
Completed forms can be dropped off at either the recycling depot or at The TIMES office before the Sept. 30 deadline.