New Brunswick is a province rich in natural resources. Our many small communities have long depended upon these natural resources for their livelihoods. Sadly though, as these resources are exploited more and more by larger corporations, the small communities and the people who live there are increasingly marginalized and forced to move elsewhere to find work. However, there is hope through the work of people like Beth McLaughlin who holds a Masters in sustainable communities.
Beth, a French immersion teacher for many years, says that “sustainable communities address all aspects of the community, and is a very positive look at the future rather than always being on the protest side”. It is the many aspects of community that dovetailed well with Beth’s concerns about the environment. A community needs to be a clean, safe place to live and work.
Beth’s concern for the environment and the effect it has on human health led to her involvement with the Conservation Council. A former director and member for many years, Beth has had a hand in many of the Council’s initiatives. During the Jaako-Pöyry hearings, Beth traveled around the province and summarized the presentations at each meeting held by the multi-party panel on Crown Lands. These summaries were posted on the website maintained by the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN). According to David Coon, CCNB’s Executive Director, Beth’s work on the project was instrumental. She organized people around the province to ensure they attended the hearings and made their voices heard.
Recently, Beth has joined the fight to have Point Lepreau decommissioned. Long concerned over the effects of nuclear and radioactivity on human health, she has joined the Lepreau Decommissioning Caucus along with like-minded representatives from groups across the Maritimes. In addition, she is a member of the Environmental Bill of Rights Committee. This committee is working on developing proposed legislation for an Environmental Bill of Rights and having it pass through government to become law in New Brunswick. If that wasn’t enough to keep a person busy, Beth is participating in the Free School event being organized by the NBEN which will help groups organize and strategize on their interests and issues.
When not volunteering on committees and caucuses, Beth is busy running her educational business along with business partner Françoise Aubin. Established seven years ago, it is an educational business focusing on sustainable communities.