HBA Sustainability Certificate
Empowering the next generation of sustainable leaders
My name is Sara Neiman; I am currently in HBA3 and I am hoping to pursue my dual degree with Urban Development. Growing up, my mom was always eager to get my brother and I outside, enjoying the fresh air. We spent our holidays travelling the country and seeking out adventures; from skiing to ziplining and everything in between. It wasn’t until I began to study urban development that I was truly exposed to the harsh negative externalities that many industries have on the world. This solidified the idea that the picturesque nature sites that my family’s memories were built on may not always be around. I am very passionate about helping others and am hoping to use my career and as an avenue to have a positive impact on the environment!
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
My definition of sustainability focuses on the relationship that corporations have with the environment, and how this goes on to impacts consumers. In my opinion, a sustainable corporation is one that is concerned about more than just profits and has organized operations in a way that minimizes their environmental impact. In addition, I believe that a sustainable corporation is one that is transparent about their operations and prices with consumers, allowing them to make educated decisions about their purchases.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
I hope to pursue a career in Urban Development, specifically in development or asset management, in which sustainability can be a major focus. I hope to see sustainability as a driver of innovation throughout my career. Currently, there are urban development companies in Canada that are vying to build carbon neutral buildings. Some companies are focused on incorporating mass timber into construction, allowing buildings to absorb carbon from the air similar to trees. Other organizations are focused on improving technology that will increase the electrical efficiency of office buildings. None of these products are currently on the market and I hope to work for an organization that is pursuing innovations similar to these. Furthermore, I have an interest in public policy and believe that sustainability would influence the policies I advocate for.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
This past summer, I was a business development intern at Alternatives Journal an environmental non-profit. As a publication, Alternatives Journal focuses on providing journalism that is ‘Info and inspirational, not doom and gloom” to youth and academics. Throughout the summer I had the opportunity to interview key players in Canada’s environmental sector, such as Paul Bubelis and Burkhard Mausberg. I was able to pick their brains and write about what they thought were the main sustainability issues in the Canadian landscape. Most of their solutions related back to our relationship with indigenous peoples, oil and gas, and importing goods from around the world. It was enlightening to work with a group of individuals who truly believe that we can change Canada, and the world, for the better. Furthermore, I have taken steps in my day-to-day life to reduce my carbon Footprint. I have been a vegetarian for the past 7 years and am an avid recycler.