In environmental and social justice activist circles in New Brunswick, Florian Levesque is a familiar name. Earlier this year, Levesque and the members of his group, Environnement Vie, celebrated the end of plans to build a toxic waste incinerator in the northern community of Belledune.
“The citizens around the Bay of Chaleur have every reason to hold a celebration. It was their dedication and hard work in organizing opposition to the incinerator that contributed to the failure of this unsustainable project”, said Peggy Gordon of the Belledune Citizens Commitee. “It is a testament to all the hard work put in by activists and concerned citizens over the past few years,” continued Gordon. Levesque was one of those activists at the forefront of the struggle to stop Belledune from becoming a sacrifice zone. He helped organize demonstrations, information sessions, press conferences, benefits and petition drives.
Inka Milewski, CCNB’s Health Watch Director, has worked closely with Levesque on the Belledune file. She says, “Florian played a central role in winning the fight to stop the operation of the Bennett toxic waste incinerator in Belledune. But his involvement in environmental issues goes beyond the Bennett battle. Florian saw the need for a grassroots environmental group in his community and helped organize Environnement Vie in Balmoral. If asked what drives his dedication, unfailing optimism and commitment to community and environment, he would say that he has a responsibility to his family, community and region to be involved.”
Levesque is a passionate speaker and storyteller. He writes regular environmental columns in the local newspaper – Voix du Restigouche. He is a familiar face to children. As the character, Monsieur Flo, he gets children to open up their imaginations to a world of possibilities. LeVêKe is another persona, a storyteller originating from the Baie des Chaleurs in the Acadian community of Balmoral. He has performed in numerous cities in Canada, the U.S., Switzerland, Belgium and France. His stories are inspired by the activism that exists for the environment and peace.