By Lethbridge Herald on August 14, 2018.
A local woman is set to put Lethbridge on an international stage after being crowned Miss Earth Canada 2018 in Quebec over the weekend.
Jaime VandenBerg was born and raised in Lethbridge and is currently enrolled in studies at the University of Lethbridge with a goal of becoming a lawyer in the future.
On Friday, she earned the title of Miss Earth Canada during the event final in Quebec.
“Miss Earth is an environmentally friendly pageant,” VandenBerg said.
VandenBerg was crowned Miss Earth Alberta last month, which provided her with an opportunity to compete at the national level.
This was her first time competing in the Miss Earth competition. In October, she will represent Canada in the Philippines against winners from around the world. It is the second time a Lethbridge resident has earned the Miss Earth Canada title, following a 2011 win by Ashlea Moore.
The format of the pageant is different than some others.
“The talent portion is an option that is not judged,” said VandenBerg. “But there is an essay portion called ‘Beauty for a Cause.’”
As part of that portion, competitors must write an essay on a topic regarding environmental sustainability. The essays need to be fully developed and then are presented in front of an audience.
For the competition, VandenBerg had to address the question of whether Canada is doing everything it can to address environmental issues.
“I said I don’t think anyone can ever be doing all that they can,” she said. “When you are referring to a country, you are also referring to the people in the country.
“Unfortunately, not everybody is always on the same page.”
In her essay, VandenBerg highlighted initiatives such as the Alberta Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program, which provides residents with an opportunity to change out household items for high-efficiency versions.
She also spoke about Quebec’s water conservation and efficiency program that works to preserve ecosystems and provides opportunities for water to be used in a sustainable manner.
She noted not everyone is on the same page when it comes to environmental issues, and climate change denial continues to be an issue for some Canadians.
“It seems like, quite often, people are just choosing a stance based on what’s acceptable with popular opinion,” she said.
“I think educating people on the environment is going to be the key to environmental change
VandenBerg first competed in Miss Teenage Alberta in 2014 and won, and followed up with a third-place finish in the Miss Teenage Canada pageant that followed.
She last competed in the Miss Universe Canada pageant in 2015. She said she missed competing and was looking to get back into it.
“Pageants are a lot of fun,” she said. “They really help me focus on self care. When I’m in university, I just throw myself into it. I don’t go to the gym very much and just hit the books really hard. I missed focusing on self betterment and volunteerism.”
VandenBerg said she is looking forward to exploring the Philippines while there, taking part in some island hopping and doing some scuba diving.
“I recently got my PADI certification for open water,” she said.
She is also excited to have the opportunity to represent Canada.
“I think it would be really great if I could take home the win on this one,” she said. “I’d be the fourth Canadian in history to win an international title.”
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