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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Blake Thorburn

 

I grew up in a small but close family in downtown Toronto. I played competitive basketball throughout middle and high school, and was also a sprinter on the track team. In my spare time I love reading, camping, and travelling, when I can! I am a passionate and empathetic person that has always placed others before myself, which led to me getting very involved in my high school Jack.org Chapter, as well the myHBA for section 6. I am working in technology consulting this summer, and I plan long term on combining my interest in technology with making positive environmental change on a large scale.

 

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

While in economics we were taught many times that sustainability is the practice of using resources without reducing their availability for the next generation, I believe that sustainability in this age means more than that. Climate change is the single most threatening problem of my generation, which is a sentiment that I hold along with many other of my peers. Sustainability needs to evolve to a place where it is not only avoiding the depletion of natural resources, but making an active effort to repair the environmental depletion of generations past.

 

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?

Many people believe that large businesses are the problem in regards to sustainability, and while this has often been true in the past, I believe businesses are the future of saving the environment. My family has made the environment and climate change a weekly discussion at the dinner table since I was young. In particular, my parents have passed on this idea of businesses’ sustainable practices and technology innovation leading the way in fixing our environment. I have always found technology interesting, from loving video games since a young age to constantly reading about the latest AI and Big Data trends. While I do not have the necessary engineering skills for innovating technology that will make renewable energy resources more efficient but also cheaper than fossil fuels, I believe I can make an impact by working in the implementation of these resources, or by (hopefully) leading a company that makes these practices industry standard. By doing so, I believe I can make a difference in reverting the fateful path our climate is currently on.

 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

I was on the “Green Club” of my middle and high school for many years. I found my work in planting trees and making speeches about sustainability to my school to be very rewarding. Furthermore, as a prefect at my school, we each had to do a project of our choice to impact our community. I organized a grade-wide trash cleanup day, where around 80 people helped me clean up the parks and streets around our neighborhoods. While I am very proud of these efforts, I have always felt that I could have the ability to make an impact on a much larger scale, if I put in the work. That is why I originally got into business, and decided that Ivey would set me up in the best position possible in order to accomplish this. I believe that by taking on this certificate and learning sustainable business strategies in my courses next year, I will be able to accomplish my goal and impact our society for the better.

 

Blake Thorburn

Blake Thorburn