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My passion for sustainability started to grow in high school when I became the president of our school’s World Wildlife Fund club. The more I learned, the more my passion grew and the more I realized how complex sustainability really was. Growing up in Vancouver, I have always loved nature and outdoor activities. I enjoy listening to podcasts on sustainability and am always open to chat. I love combining my passions, whether it be filmmaking, culinary arts, learning, or sustainability. My mission is to use innovation, problem solving and collaboration to aid in meeting the 2050 sustainability goals.

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

Sustainability is multidimensional and my definition for it continues to change; however, a quote in our Strategy 48-hour report inspired and recently changed my definition. The case mentioned a question that Indigenous communities would ask when making central decisions: “How would this impact the next seven generations of people on this planet?”. I think sustainability should mean protection and continued opportunities for the next seven generations, of both people and creatures of this planet. Moreover, true sustainability should mean that the most disadvantaged (poor, marginalized, etc.) are not left behind and are a part of the decision-making process.

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

I see sustainability playing a large role in my professional career as I merge my two passions together: problem solving and sustainability. I envision that my day-to-day activities will revolve around reversing climate change or, at the very least, I will be at a company that is actively working to do so. I have had doubts about my personal impact in fighting climate change; however, I always had a clear mission: to educate myself and others in the hopes of inspiring someone who could someday have a greater influence. In this way, I hope to work as a sustainability consultant influencing my clients to operate more sustainably and create innovative solutions. Even if my career takes an unexpected turn, I know that I will always have a green tinted lens that will allow me to question the environmental impacts of the decisions we make. Furthermore, I have a long-term goal of combining my passion for the culinary arts with my commitment to sustainability by opening a restaurant that prioritizes sustainability in its sourcing, operations and branding.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

At Western, I have joined the Sustainability Leadership Program (WSLP) where I have surrounded myself with like-minded individuals and learned about current events, issues, movement sand innovations. It has also introduced me to opportunities like case competitions focused on environmental sustainability. My team and I were able to propose a solution to a prompt on how to reduce Western’s campus waste and meet its diversion rate goals. After winning the competition, I was able to connect with Western’s sustainability office and pitch a video idea to educate students about sustainability. This idea was well received and I used my filmmaking skills to plan, film and edit a three-minute educational video. The picture above is a capture of this video on how to properly sort the most commonly confused items on Western’s campus. Now, I have joined Ivey’s Social Impact Club as a general member and have loved being involved in their conferences and panels to further educate myself. Recently, I participated in KPMG’s Ideation Challenge with my peers to find a solution to reduce the carbon footprint of an industry, economy or company. Despite not making it to the finals ,we learned a lot about the current biofuel industry.

Sona Bae

Sona Bae

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