All About EcoPerth - Alfred Von Mirbach

Back in 1997, three Perth-based environmental consultants started thinking (what - consultants can THINK?) about what they wanted to do now. Bob Argue, Alfred Von Mirbach and Cheryl Nash had been doing waste diversion consulting for some time, but were ready to move on to a bigger picture. Most importantly, they wanted to do it in the community that was their home, Perth.

Climate change seemed to fit the bill. It dealt with minimizing waste of all sorts (energy, water, resources) as well as growing things (which absorb carbon dioxide). They heard the federal government was setting up a Climate Change Secretariat and creating a Climate Change Action Fund, and thought - "Why don't we convince the feds to help fund Perth to become a pilot project on how a rural community can respond to climate change?". We knocked on local doors, got letters of support, and then some funding to get ecoPerth going.

This was nothing new - Perth had led the way before, with the Heritage Mainstreet Development Program back in the 1970's. However, it was nonetheless surprising to see how many groups and individuals came on board to make things happen. That's what ecoPerth is about - Making Things Happen! Not planning, not talking, just turning ideas into reality.

ecoPerth is a non-profit organization, with a community-based board consisting of John Clement, Wendy Laut and Barry Thrasher. The key staff/volunteers are the same three that came up with the idea, Bob, Alfred and Cheryl, although over a hundred of other community volunteers are involved in one way or another. By the way, although they are called ecoPerth, most of their projects outreach to all of Lanark County (and sometimes beyond).

Fast forward a couple of years, and all of a sudden ecoPerth has over 40 successful projects under its belt, everything from annual tree sales to car pool web database to energy retrofits of municipal facilities. Just check out the ecoPerth website to see what all they are doing. Or, if you want to see ecoPerth in person, check out their offices on the second floor of the newly renovated Town Hall.

If the picture aove conjures up memories .. click on the picture to read the story behind this "abbey road" photo.

ecoPerth recently won several awards demonstrating their success:

  1. Top three finalist in Outreach category - Natural Resource Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency

  2. Winner, Sustainable Community Award - Federation of Canadian Municipalities

  3. Urban Habitat Stewardship Award (UHSA)- awarded to stewardship and conservation leaders from across Canada

See also:

  1. Living on Earth - an article on ecoPerth