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Speaker shows students upside of climate change


Peter Boyd, centre right, met with environmentally-conscious students on Oct.15 to talk about what they can do to create entrepreneurial opportunities that will solve climate change.

Angela McInnes | Interrobang | News | October 19th, 2018

Climate advocate and entrepreneur Peter Boyd had a message for Fanshawe: there is an upside to climate change.

“The world’s in a bad state and climate change is happening,” Boyd said. “But bigger yes, the opportunities are there and they’re only going to get more obvious.”

Boyd kicked off this week’s Sustainability Fair with a presentation and breakout session afterwards with environmentally-conscious staff and students on Oct.15.

The Sustainability Fair is Fanshawe’s own celebration of Canada’s Waste Reduction Week, a campaign designed to encourage new innovative ideas and solutions for climate change.

In addition to Boyd, the Fair featured informational booths and giveaways throughout the week to raise students’ awareness of environmental issues.

When it comes to the state of the environment, Boyd is nothing short of optimistic. As a Resident Fellow at the Center for Business and Environment at Yale University, his career has been based off of advising students and leaders on how they can find opportunities to decrease their ecological footprint while increasing their environmental entrepreneurship.

Boyd is also a former Chief Operating Officer of the climate think tank, Carbon War Room.

Boyd told Interrobang that from an evolutionary standpoint, human beings have a tendency to ignore the problems they can’t physically see, which is how our environmental issues have reached such a dire state.

It’s only now that we are seeing more environmental catastrophes like hurricanes, floods and drought that we are beginning to pay attention to the danger at hand.

The good news is that humans have also proven to be highly adaptable and collaborative when it comes to surviving as a species.

As the threat of climate change becomes more and more apparent, so too do the solutions for it, such as developing cleaner options and making them more available and affordable to mass populations.

“We’re approaching a huge opportunity on the solutions side. As you break through and the clean solutions are also cheaper, then we take off in an enormously positive way.”

Boyd is also senior advisor for Blackstone Energy Services, an energy management company partnering with Fanshawe to help the College reach “net-zero consumption” by reducing its carbon footprint to be in line with Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan.

Boyd said that he enjoys working with colleges and universities in this capacity because it affords him the chance to impact the environment while influencing future workers.

“Colleges are large energy users and have a large impact because they’re a small town within a town. There’s a learning opportunity for everyone on campus,” said Boyd.

Attending Boyd’s presentation was Melanie Hogg, a member of Fanshawe’s Eco-Advisors group and student of the Environmental Design and Planning program.

“I think it’s a really great experience for Fanshawe to have such an educated speaker here. The environment is such a huge deal and these days we really need to be focusing on what we can do to really do our best and do our part,” Hogg said.

Boyd said that he wants Fanshawe students to know that there’s a lot they can do about climate change.

“They can choose how to consume, they can choose how to vote, they can choose where they’re going to work so that talent goes to clean companies,” Boyd said. “There’s an enormous opportunity for [students’] long-term wealth, well being, and all these other things in between.”
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