Tyler Boswell, a 3rd year Business Law student, was recently announced as one of the first World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Leaders. This is part of a wider WWF living planet @ campus program, which is helping students in Canada take on sustainability leadership roles and communicate sustainability issues on campus. We at Quote the Raven talked to Tyler about his experiences being a Living Planet Leader, his other involvement at Carleton and what advice he’d give Carleton students who want to be in his position.
1) What does the Title ‘WWF Living Planet Leader’ mean to you?
The title ‘WWF Living Planet Leader’ means that young leaders are being recognized by our hard work to make little differences to improve our planet. The small commitments you make each and every day can have long term impacts and being a Living Planet Leader means you’re open to accepting these challenges.
2) How has your background in Business Law contributed to your environmental campaigns at Carleton and your position as a Living Planet Leader?
I think studying law has allowed me to gain a critical thinking approach, especially looking at policies, where we see an action plan and ask if we’re doing our best. I believe there’s always room for improvement and we should be looking for innovative ideas for environmental action. It also shows that environmental advocacy can be in any program, and not confined to environment-focused programs (ex. environmental science).
3) What are your thoughts on some of the world leaders not viewing Climate Change as the existential crisis it is? Moreover, what do you think needs to be done to help fight Climate Change in Canada?
I think the real solution falls to the everyday person/consumer to make the important changes. I believe it’s important to sacrifice our own habits and advocate for changes beyond our control, like government legislation. It would be refreshing to see Canada take more concrete actions to reduce carbon emissions, as far as I’m concerned, all national leaders are falling behind and have made climate change a partisan issue. A multi-partisan approach is required to swiftly address the issue.
4) What specific daily habits could your fellow students change to help the environment?
Look at your daily habits and think critically, small changes like switching to a bamboo toothbrush, using reusable containers, reduce industrial meat consumption. But also, don’t fall into a trap of consumerism and buying trends. Keep in mind one metal straw uses more energy/resources to make, so you have to use it about 150 times for it to start being good for the environment. The best is to buy less in general.
5) What inspired you to get involved with this cause? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The first environmental action I took was in high school when the whole school participated in a neighbourhood clean-up. In grade 12, I founded the Environmental Club and accomplished quite a bit. I certified the school as a ‘Gold’ EcoSchool in the first year, introduced composting to the school, diverted over 50 bags of clothing from the landfill, and collected/organized a neighbourhood clean-up. Looking to the future, it’s hard to say what the next 5 years will bring, hopefully I’ll be done school and working in a policy related field.
6) What is your favourite animal and why? Are they considered an endangered species?
I’m terrible with favourites, but I’d say my favourite animal in Canada is the bison, which had not existed in Canada for many years. Just recently I went to Banff to volunteer with Parks Canada with their bison reintroduction program. It was a wonderful opportunity to go with the Student Experience Office on Alternative Spring Break. So far, the reintroduction has gone well and has returned the bison to the landscape. A significant action for biodiversity and the indigenous communities that hold the bison as an important cultural piece.
7) What advice would you give Carleton students who would like to follow in your footsteps in becoming a Living Planet Leader in the Future?
Get involved, try something new, and start preparing your portfolio early. I’m also available for questions about the program at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can reach out to me on social media.
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