Mark Warawa passed away on June 20 after a battle with cancer. A celebration of life was held for him on Friday, July 5 at the Christian Life Assembly Church in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)

VIDEO – GREEN BEAT: Warawa himself was an environmental hero

A tribute to the man: a late Member of Parliament, who created special awards, was deserving himself

By David Clements/Special to the Langley Advance Times

The annual environmental hero awards that MP Mark Warawa for Langley-Aldergrove began in 2006 have been a unique way to showcase efforts by Langley residents on behalf of the environment.

Most recipients of the award, organized by Warawa’s office in partnership with Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) over the years, could be referred to as “unsung” heroes because without the recognition the award brought, these local heroes would be largely unknown to the public.

With Warawa’s passing on June 20, after a short battle with cancer, the Langley Advance Times conducted a poll to ask whether residents felt the award should be continued as a tribute to Warawa’s long-time commitment.

READ MORE: MP Warawa remembered for kindness, faith, convictions

Not surprisingly, 95 per cent of respondents favoured continuing the award.

So I trust the award will continue to celebrate individuals, youth, and groups that strive to better the environment in Langley.

Mark could be said to have been an unsung environmental hero, himself.

In her moving tribute to Warawa, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May described Mark as doing all kinds of things for the environment on a personal level, including installing solar panels on his home.

Warawa was never a cabinet minister, but as secretary to four different environment ministers from 2006 to 2011, he did much behind the scenes.

I remember highlights of Warawa’s impassioned talk on climate change at TWU in 2007, in which he provided details on how the government had implemented measures to regulate industrial emissions.

In the often politicized debate on climate change, these measures failed to make the headlines then, but nonetheless Warawa was committed to doing something about greenhouse emissions, even if no one was paying attention to his actions.

Last December, I met up with Mark and Ann Blaauw – the benefactor who donated the funding to establish the Blaauw Eco Forest – for a Facebook interview to raise attention to odour, noise, and light pollution issues associated with a proposed cannabis facility nearby.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW WITH ANN BLAAUW

Warawa lobbied for our cause at the highest levels among his federal colleagues.

The grassroots-style advocacy using a “homemade” Facebook video somehow typifies the efforts of this hard-working MP who cared about his constituents and cared about the Langley environment.

As May prayed at the end of her tribute in parliament “God greet one of your wonderful spirits, a soul who has served you well… give him eternal rest but light perpetual shine upon him, and thank you Lord that we came to know him and call him friend.”

Indeed, rest in peace, Mark Warawa, an environmental hero.

RECENT COLUMN: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

– David Clements PhD, is a professor of biology and environmental studies at Trinity Western University

Just Posted

Langley volleyball player helps secure bronze in Puerto Rico

Women medal at NORCECA, while men’s team is playing the worlds in Hiroshima, Japan

LETTER: Fort Langley festival reminds us to be thankful

Heartfelt thanks go out to event organizers

VIDEO: Thanksgiving Day crash in Langley sent a few to hospital

UPDATE: No one believed seriously injured in head-on accident at 232nd Street and Fraser: Mounties

ON COOKING: Embrace the experience, from beginning to end

A passion for cooking can easily be rekindled according to this chef and culinary instructor

Langley pioneers remember heritage buildings

Ahead of November’s Douglas Day banquet, Fred Pepin speaks to importance of preserving local history

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

VIDEO: Townhouse fourth Maple Ridge blaze in less than a day

UPDATE: Fire victims have much to be thankful for, despite loss of pets on Thanksgiving Day

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Most Read