Waterloo Sustainable Development Group CEO Tarek AlFarra emphasized the importance of solid partnerships and networks when pursuing the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the opening session of the 2017 edition of the annual “What Can YOUth Do?” Conference (WCYD17), which was held at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo on Wednesday.
“A large part of what WSDG does is grow and strengthen its sustainable development network. In the span of less than a year since its inception, WSDG has successfully developed globally spanning solid partnerships and links with leaders in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, water management, economic development, community development, education and other areas. It is through our unique knowledge and network at WSDG that we are able to deliver exceptional integrated sustainable solutions and services that our Canadian and international partners can rely on”, AlFarra said during the opening panel discussion, which was moderated by Stacey Dankert, Co-Director at Waterloo Region Environmental Network (WREN).
During the same session, Cat Adalay, CEO, Co-founder of The Aurea Company, a startup manufacturer of small-scale modular wind turbines for architecture integration, Mat Tjissen, Sustainability Coordinator, University of Waterloo Sustainability Office, and Elena Weber-Kraljevski, Energy Conservation Officer, Waterloo Catholic District School Board also discussed the exceptional sustainable development work they were engaged in.
The event, which was organized by the Waterloo Region Environmental Network and Sustainable Youth Canada, saw the participation of sustainability leaders and organizations from the public and private sector and brought together youth from the region’s universities, colleges and schools who took part in an environmental hackathon during the final session.
The conference also included a number of presentations and booth displays by some of the region’s sustainable development and environmental organizations, activists and startups, including the event’s organizer, Sustainable Youth Canada‘s Truzaar Dordi, Forests Ontario, Community Carshare, the Bluedot Movement, Waterloo Global Science Initiative, and PolyGone, a new, all female run startup working to develop a highly efficient, user friendly method to capture microfibres as they are released within the washing machine.
During the closing environmental hackathon, AlFarra answered a few questions students had about WSDG’s work and encouraged them to pursue their passions in sustainable development. “To have the most impact, if there’s a sustainable development cause that you are absolutely passionate about, and that you want to promote, seek it out, try to find friends and colleagues who would share your vision and be willing to work with you, then find out what are the steps that are needed to carry it out, then do it”, he told the students.