“We must hold politicians accountable for the changes we want to see because they work for us, we chose them for the job by voting them in, and their decisions affect all of us.”
2022 Top 30 Under 30
Which SDGs Are you most passionate about and why?
I am passionate about SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. SDG 4: Access to Quality Education for All is the main driver for the initiatives in which I am involved. From a young age, my family ingrained in me the value education is the most powerful tool we have – to not only empower ourselves in our own lives – but to enable us to take an active role in transforming our society and reducing inequalities. My mother and grandmother were teachers in Bangladesh, and they witnessed the impact that education has on empowering women, families, and communities, especially where barriers prevent access to basic literacy.
I find the need for education more relevant today, as misinformation is leading to increased polarization and division. As a community, we should be collaborating and fostering partnerships to tackle this division. This belief drew me to learn from peoples’ lived experiences—sharing stories and finding common ground—because of its powerful ability to evoke empathy and converge different perspectives into a shared human experience.
What Issues are you most passionate about and what inspires you to take action?
I feel passionate about Alberta’s energy transition because it presents a huge opportunity in the province for the recovery and growth of the Canadian economy while also combating the effects of climate change. Combining the expertise and skills of our energy sector with incentives in hydrogen and carbon capture, we can become a global supplier of affordable clean energy. Our industry can leverage its leading position in responsible development to differentiate itself globally and attract investment.
I am particularly interested in decarbonizing our cities because 70% of global emissions can be attributed to cities through electricity generation, heating and cooling buildings, transportation, and waste. By 2050, it is estimated that 68% of the population will be living in urban areas, so we must adapt to the needs of the increasing population and the challenges associated with rapid urbanization while ensuring this will not exacerbate existing social inequalities.
How have your communities and those around you helped you to take action and make a difference?
Getting involved with the right organization keeps me motivated by connecting with like-minded individuals who are engaged and dedicated to driving positive impact. I feel especially energized during election season to get involved in my community because politicians are more likely to listen to your concerns when they are campaigning. For example, through my involvement with the Calgary Climate Hub’s non-partisan election campaign, we created several engagement tools to connect with voters, candidates, and other organizations to ensure a fair energy transition plan is a priority for the next group of decision-makers in Calgary. Several partner organizations assisted us in developing a candidates questionnaire, all-candidates forum, and town halls to ensure the top priority concerns of Calgarians are addressed. We also met with individual candidates in small groups to build relationships, find common ground, ask questions, and share our vision for the city we want to live in.
What do partnership and collaboration mean to you in your life and your work?
As leaders of the next generation, we must envision bold ideas to respond to global challenges which are too daunting for any one individual or organization to tackle on its own. We need to break out of our silos and form cross-sector collaborations and partnerships to achieve a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future. For me, this looks like oil and gas companies being part of the solution to our low-carbon future.