I grew up having an array of animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, as well as riding horses for 8 years. My love of horses allowed me to spend hours of my summers growing up enjoying the outdoors, learning about local wildlife and how local farms are taking initiatives to become self-sustainable. Through these experiences, I became an animal welfare volunteer for the Guelph Humane Society where my role allowed me to educate members of the public regarding ethical animal treatment practices for domestic and wild animals. As well, I also enjoy activities like camping, kayaking, and canoeing.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
I live my life with the philosophy, “treat others the way you would like to be treated”, and when it comes to the Earth, I believe that we should treat our planet and each other with respect and empathy. By taking initiatives as future leaders to ensure labour is ethically sourced, environmental efforts are put in place, and animals are treated humanely, we can strive to leave the planet better off for future generations. Without taking these efforts, individuals and corporations will continue to take advantage of our existing resources, causing detrimental, irreversible effects that will destroy the only place we can call home.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
With my previous experience working for a non-for-profit organization, I want to continue to educate people regarding the ethical treatment of animals. As my future career interest is within the healthcare space, I want to further support initiatives to eliminate the use of animal testing. Although Canada has made great efforts in recent years to prohibit the use of live animals for testing consumer products (ie. the implementation of Bill S-214 and the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act), many countries around the world continue to experiment consumer and healthcare products on millions of animals annually. Therefore, in my professional career, I can see myself working with healthcare companies to find testing alternative methods that do not involve the use of animals. I would also be interested in working for or investing time and resources into organizations that promote animal welfare initiatives such as the World Wildlife Fund or the ASPCA to ensure education and prevention efforts are continued within the future.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
Two sustainability projects I have been involved in are marine biology research in the Florida Keys and animal conservation and sustainable coffee growing in Costa Rica.
While in Florida, I worked with the University of Florida’s marine biology lab in Long Key to study the detrimental effects caused by global warming and it is impacting species such as dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and manatees. I was able to take my key learnings from the kayaking tours, off-shore dives, and the Marathon turtle rescue back to my high school in Canada. I used my experience to educate my school population regarding initiatives to help protect these species.
In Costa Rica, I was able to volunteer at Proyecto Asis Wildlife Rescue Centre where I spent time building new habitats for animals such as monkeys, sloths, macaws, toucans, and wild boars who were injured due to habitat destruction caused by human interference or were sold illegally through the black market. At Life Monteverde, a sustainable coffee growing operation, I was also involved with planting coffee beans and learned how sustainable agriculture and sourced, fair trade coffee can reduce environmental impact.