Ecosystem management graduate hopes to inspire others to take action against pollution through new documentary

Peterborough ON – (March 31, 2021) – Rochelle Byrne graduated from Fleming’s Ecosystem Management Technology program in 2012. Two years later, she started a not-for-profit organization called A Greener Future, which focuses on litter cleanup and prevention.

“Right from the beginning, when I started A Greener Future, the people that were supporting me most were people that I had met in school, that had the same mindset about the environment,” said Byrne.

As a non-profit organization, A Greener Future works with the community to promote environmental preservation through organized litter cleanups, educational programs and events.  

Byrne says her time in Fleming’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences ignited her passion for the environment and curiosity to learn more. “I learned to keep researching and how to stay up to date when it comes to new things in the environment and the actions we need to take.”

Everything changed in 2020, however, with the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down any form of social gatherings. Undeterred, Byrne got more creative and adventurous. She decided to take on the endurance challenge of stand-up paddleboarding 430 kilometres across Lake Ontario to raise awareness about plastic pollution along the shoreline.

What she hoped would be a short video of her journey, has turned into a 45-minute documentary titled Shoreline: The Paddle Against Plastic.

“There is so much to say about plastic pollution and the environment, and all the things that we can do to help make it better,” said Byrne. “I’m excited that we get to reach more people through this medium because I think it’s an important topic and not something that everybody’s aware of.”

Since announcing the documentary project, Byrne has gained a new following and a lot of coverage for her cause.

“All of us appreciate Lake Ontario and if it ends up highly polluted, it will not be good for surfers, paddleboarders, boaters, or swimmers, so I think it’s really important that we all come together,” said Byrne.

With the release of Shoreline, she hopes to raise awareness and inspire others to get involved, whether it be through joining a litter cleanup or making a donation to an environmental cause.

“All that matters is that everyone is doing their part.”

The advanced virtual screening of Shoreline is on April 1 at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A with Byrne. Tickets are on sale now with all funds raised going towards A Greener Future’s Love Your Lake program, comprising 100 organized litter cleanups along Lake Ontario.

To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit A Greener Future’s website.