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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Paden Hirstwood

My name is Paden, and I am looking to complete a certificate in sustainability heading into my last year of undergraduate studies. Growing up, sustainability has always been something I have learned about; however, while I learned of its importance it never seemed to me that businesses were making a strong effort to become more sustainable. As I learn more and more about business practices, I wonder how much longer we can keep doing business the way we are before the consequences catch up. Difference starts with an individual, and that difference starts now.

Additional Information

Personal Definition of Sustainability

Sustainability takes on many meanings to me. Essentially, sustainability is about leaving the world in as good, or better, a place than we found it. This ranges from environmental initiatives to corporate sustainability (e.g. solar/thermal heating, using natural lighting). Sustainability does not necessarily have to be large-scale—it can start with personal changes (e.g. turning down the thermostat, drying clothes outdoors).

At its roots, sustainability is concern for the activities of our current actions, and how we can improve upon existing processes to ensure resources will be around after we are.

Sustainability-In-Action

I have always possessed an affinity for environmental sustainability, and many activities in which I have participated reflect this matter.

I am an avid composter in my home. In my kitchen, we keep a container to store compostable materials, which is emptied into one of the composters located in my back yard. Once everything breaks down, we use the mulch to improve the nutrient content of our lawn.

Throughout high school and into the past few years of university, I have taken part in many bottle drives in an effort to minimize the school’s amount of waste and litter (the proceeds were donated to charity). I feel this is a great way to promote recycling within the community. Many bottles are littered outdoors and in buildings, which is harmful for both the environment (as glass and aluminum bottles are not biodegradable) as well as local animals (who are injured from broken glass and whose habitats are destroyed).

More recently, I participated in a local clean-up project, which aimed to beautify our neighbourhoods. Volunteers came together to pick up litter around local areas. This removes non-biodegradable materials from the streets.