Montreal

Prominent Quebec environmentalist Steven Guilbeault steps down from Équiterre

The co-founder and senior director of Équiterre says he is leaving because he wants to explore "new elements of the fight against climate change."

Guilbeault has been the senior director of the organization, which he co-founded, for 11 years

Steven Guilbeault, co-founder and senior director of Équiterre, says he is stepping down because he wants to explore "new elements of the fight against climate change." (Radio-Canada)

Steven Guilbeault, one of the most well-known faces in Quebec's environmental movement, has announced he is leaving his job, but not abandoning the cause.

"I've made the very hard decision to leave Équiterre after being, in a way or another with the organization for 25 years, not because I don't like working at Équiterre and not because I don't love the people who are here," he said during a news conference Friday.

Guilbeault, who co-founded Équiterre and has been a senior director since 2007, says he is stepping down because he wants to explore "new elements of the fight against climate change." 

He is going to work with Cycle capital management, which he called one of the biggest fund managers for clean technology in Canada.

He will also work as a public relations advisor with Copticom, a company specializing in green and social economy issues. 

He and Sidney Ribaux co-founded Équiterre in 1993, a citizens' group that aimed to find solutions to issues such as pollution and large-scale industrialization.

Ribaux said Guilbeault is an incredible communicator, and credited him with making environmental issues more accessible.

"Steven ... goes around Quebec every year to talk to various audiences about climate change. He's been doing that for 25 years, and I think that is part of the reason that we have had an easier time talking about climate change in Quebec and getting progressive policies in this province."

At 48, Guilbeault has a long track record when it comes to the fight against climate change and protecting the environment.

His first taste of activism came when he was five and climbed a tree in his hometown of La Tuque, in the Mauricie, to stop it from being cut down to make way for a housing development.

Guilbeault became the director of the organization in 2007. Équiterre now has 22,000 members, 200 volunteers and 50 employees.

Regularly courted by political parties, he never closed the door to one day running for office. He said that door is still open, but that his political aspirations are not the reason behind his departure from Équiterre.

With files from Radio-Canada

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