Born in Moscow, Russia, I immigrated to Canada when I was five years old. Growing up in one of the greenest cities in the world, Vancouver, helped develop my passion for sustainability as both a personal value and career ambition. I was privileged to go to a primary and secondary school which encouraged its students to learn about sustainability and participate and organize related initiatives including bottle drives, energy saving days and recycling drives throughout my time as a student. This upbringing has taught me the importance of sustainability and has led me to pursue a career in sustainable energy.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
Sustainability is the preservation or improvement of the living afforded to people in the world: the aggregate of environmental, technological and ethical standards as it relates to human living. In English common law, there is the concept of an ‘entailed estate,’ which is an intergenerational trust among a family that the current inhabitants of that property cannot sell it but can only improve or maintain the house. To me, this is a perfect metaphor for sustainability, which is the effort by the current inhabitants of the world to improve it for future generations, or at the very least maintain it.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
Sustainability will be a primary consideration in any job I consider, or any business I set out to build on my own. Growing up in Vancouver, BC, I took for granted the attention to sustainability held by the various organizations I interacted with on a daily basis; but travel and my move to Ontario has taught me that sustainability is far from being an institution at the corporate level. As someone who has seen not only the viability of sustainable businesses but also has grown up in an environment in which sustainability is a competitive advantage, I truly believe that sustainable practices can be implemented at any firm of any size. Towards this end, I hope to be an advocate for sustainability in any job I undertake by making it a key criterion in any decision-making process. Furthermore, I could personally never stand to profit monetarily in an organization that jeopardizes the future of my descendants. I see my career as my opportunity to make a positive impact on the world, and I find sustainability to be both a worthwhile cause to advocate and one that would profit me and my family much more than money.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
I have been involved in numerous sustainability projects, but my most memorable experience was during my time as a boy-scout and the many initiatives we embarked on. These initiatives were usually simple such as picking up garbage around the neighborhood, collecting recyclables from neighbors and employing sustainable practices during camping trips. These were by no means world-changing, but that was precisely the lesson to be learned: sustainability is the individual responsibility of each person. It was these experiences at a young age that helped me develop an understanding of what sustainability meant, which then led to my developing a passion for it. This led me to become involved in various projects later in life, with a focus towards educating the next generation what I learned as a child. I joined a program called ‘Each One Teach One,’ which brought a group of high school seniors into contact with students just beginning elementary school as a vehicle to teach these kids about sustainable habits in addition to other life lessons. Additionally, this past summer I got to work for a landscaping firm that prided itself in its practices of sustainable gardening, which I got to learn.