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.
Laurie Darcus with the City of Pitt Meadows is hoping everyone will try to make a small effort to change their habits in order to make a big difference to the environment.
As a City staffer with the District of Maple Ridge in the 1980s, she started to notice a lot of waste at the office - paper and cardboard not recycled, and paper coffee cups in regular use.
"I felt the need to make a change," Darcus said. "I saw the world was needing some help."
This resulted in a municipal recycling program.
Those were big issues in those days, Darcus said. But the world has changed, and now working at the City of Pitt Meadows, she has helped work on a wide variety of green initiatives to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Teaching people how to change their habits and how small things can make a big difference is one of the challenges.
"You can change all of the fixtures and equipment you want, but you have to focus on people's behaviour," Darcus said.
But once people learn a new habit, for example, to turn the light out when they leave a room, "it becomes natural, like breathing," she said.
After looking at what the City could do to be more sustainable, Darcus started looking at how to get Pitt Meadows businesses involved - and it's working, for example, one law firm in Pitt Meadows is functioning almost completely paperless.
A recent Ipsos-Reid poll done by the City of Pitt Meadows showed that 90 per cent of residents wanted the City to be a leader in green initiatives.
Darcus said Pitt Meadows is the perfect place for living a green lifestyle as one can walk or cycle almost anywhere, especially with the City's extensive bike network.
"I'd like the community to be more involved," Darcus said. "If we could get everyone in Pitt Meadows to do a [little more], that would make a huge difference."
For example, she often sees a plethora of cars idling in front of schools and at the train crossing in Pitt Meadows.
Darcus pointed out that turning on a car is equivalent to 10 seconds of idling - so after idling for 10 seconds, it's a waste of fuel.