“In our hands lies the ability to engineer a world where sustainability isn’t an afterthought, but the
foundation of all our innovative endeavors.”
Tahmid Al Hafiz
2024 Top 30 Under 30
What specific issue(s) are you taking on, and what inspires you to do so?
As an engineer, my aim is to promote the widespread implementation of sustainable design and eco-friendly engineering methods on a global scale. This goal is rooted in a deep-seated desire to contribute positively to our planet’s health. Throughout my time in university, I maintained a strong focus on enhancing gender equality in student governance, with a vision to cultivate a space where diverse voices are equally respected and represented. I am also committed to advocating for improved mental health support on campus, recognizing the vital role of well-being in the academic and personal growth of students. Additionally, there’s a drive to educate and clarify misconceptions around responsible consumption, especially in the context of recycling plastics and e-waste. These efforts are part of a larger aspiration to foster a world that is not only sustainable and equitable but also one that prioritizes mental health and well-being.
What does climate change or climate justice mean to you? To your work?
Climate change and climate justice hold deep personal significance for me, intertwining with both my professional aspirations and personal passions. As a hobbyist wildlife photographer, I’ve witnessed firsthand the stark realities of climate change. Capturing animals and birds in their natural habitats is not
just a hobby; it’s a journey into the heart of coexistence but with a painful reminder of what we stand to lose. The diminishing habitats and the ever-increasing struggles of wildlife due to climate change and deforestation are not just abstract concepts, but realities I encounter through my lens.
In my work as an engineer, this translates into a relentless pursuit of sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. The urgency to combat climate change is more than a professional responsibility; it’s a personal mission to preserve the natural world I so deeply cherish. The stories of disappearing wildlife, like the one-horned rhinoceros (once found around my village) that my grandfather used to talk about; or the now elusive Great Horned Hornbill in Bangladesh, are a constant impetus. They fuel my commitment to engineering practices that respect and protect our environment.
To me, climate justice means striving for a world where the loss of such magnificent creatures is halted, and their habitats are preserved and restored. It’s about creating a future where my children, and their children, can experience the wonder and diversity of wildlife not just through photographs and stories but in their natural, thriving habitats. My professional work and personal advocacy are thus deeply motivated by these experiences, driving a commitment to sustainable practices and environmental conservation.
What advice do you have for other young people looking to get involved in sustainable development?
Dare to envision a future where sustainability is not just an option, but the foundation of all development. Channel your passion into creating innovative solutions that always harmonize progress with the planet’s health.
Hafiz engaging the audience at TEDx UAlberta 2023.
Hafiz demystifies the complexities of plastic recycling in his workshop at the Alberta Student Leadership Summit 2023.
Hafiz sitting on the dunk tank at the Engineering Students’ Society Engineering Carnival, with all proceeds donated to the Campus Food Bank to combat student food insecurity. (Photographer: Matthew Naruzny)