Sarder Sadid is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto with a strong passion for the environment. He has been part of the various student clubs in the university and that is what keeps him sane throughout the year. Known for his constant positive vibe, Sarder believes that his motto – “Treat others as you would like to be treated” – is what helps him define the type of person he is and wants to be.
Here’s his conversation with Nadia Chowdhury:
1) You are pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Environment and Health at University of Toronto-how has the experience been for you?
It is a rather unique experience for me. It was actually the program that stood out for me when I was looking to enroll into programs and I love it. It is one of the few science and environment fusion majors offered by the School of Environment in the University of Toronto. I find that it is perfect for me for two reasons. One, it has the perfect balance of hard science and environment courses for me. Two, I am planning to do a Masters in Public Health after I graduate and this program leads directly to it. So it’s perfect for me. It is also the area of interest for me so really, it’s like a match made in heaven. Obviously my interests in the Environment played a huge factor in me choosing this major and I absolutely love studying it and hopefully I am able to continue studying and work in this field.
2) Please tell us about the Bangladesh Student Association at University of Toronto events-Aaloron and Onodhin, of which you were a key organizer. What was it like to organize such a well-received event and what did you feel the reception of the show was amongst the Bengali community in Toronto?
To be honest, organizing both events was full of emotions. The executives of the BSA work tremendously hard every year to put together a show that brings together a community to celebrate a cultural showpiece that is put together by entirely by a group of students. Everyone bonds over all of the work for this show. Not only that, it is really fun to work for these shows. At the end of the day, when the show is a success, it is the climax of an overwhelming positive emotion that is truly indescribable. I have never felt such a unique emotion in my life.
The response for the show has always been excellent. Students, parents and community leaders all attend the shows and the reviews have always been positive. The older generations are always impressed by the fact that a group of students put together such an impressive cultural event which includes acting, dancing, singing, poetry and folk-theatre. Our generation of the audience lauds the execution and the intricate storylines of the show. It really is a great event to go to every year.
3) You have been an Environmental Academic Seminar/ Environmental Career Day Coordinator at the University of Toronto and Co-President and Treasurer at Environmental Students’ Union at University of Toronto. Your work heavily seems to rely on the environment. How relevant do you think the environment will be in reference to today and the future?
I think my work experience and studies are a clear indication of my interest in the environment and issues surrounding it. I have been interested in since probably grade 3 and I have never looked back. I have experienced and studied about different regions around so I have a good understanding of what is going on, what can be done and what can be implemented to address the environmental crises.
Obviously, the climate change crisis is the big issue in the world today. While there are many who deny it, it seems a bit absurd because we can literally see a change in the weather patterns now. Winter was really long and cold this year. Last year, it was short and less cold. I am sure even climate change deniers have felt the change but for some odd reason, they do not wish to acknowledge that the climate is changing. That’s simple observation really. The unfortunate thing is that is the case with almost all environmental issues. Research will be done to prove one environmental concern and some other research will be done to disprove it. This causes a lot of confusion and we keep falling behind in implementing methods to control it.
For the future, it is widely believed by many, including myself, that the environment will become the most important issue for humankind. While there are many who are happy to ignore the signs, there will be a time when no one can ignore what is going on. It will be a time when denying environmental issues will be ridiculed because the impacts will be so obvious that people might think you are mad if you deny it.
That is where present and future environmentalists and environment students step in. They will be the ones to lead the environmental crisis. They will work with the leading policy makers, prominent businesspeople and top technology experts to fight these issues. I know that there are many who are skeptical of what I just said and perhaps they won’t change their opinions reading this. However, I am absolutely confident that there will come a time when the environment will pertain to everything because of the harm that humans will have done to the planet for centuries. It will be a time when thinking of the environment becomes inevitable.
4) What advice do you have for those who are planning to make it in the environmental community and for those who are of Bangladeshi origins in Canada?
You have picked the best possible field for the future. As I have said, it will be the most important issue in the future whether we like it or not. One thing I would like to say is that you do not need to be in an environment program to study it or show that you are interested in it. You can help the environment by studying anything – engineering, law, medicine, business etc.
I know for a fact that the environmental community does not have as much Bangladeshis as we would like to have. However, starting from our generation, we can see a sharp rise in terms of Bangladeshi representation in the environmental community. This is very promising. We can certainly use our knowledge of the environment in helping not only Canada or Bangladesh, but the whole world. I would like to laud you if you are planning to make it in the environmental community. We could use all the support we can get.