When you live in the world of environmental sciences it is easy to panic and imagine dystopian scenarios reports Jillian Treadwell, who is a student at McGill University in the department of Bioresource Engineering. Winner of Ice River Springs Master’s Scholarship for Sustainability, she has a more positive outlook.
“I feel not necessarily a sense of obligation,” says Treadwell. “More of a sense of opportunity to do whatever I can to maintain and support sustainable action and resilient ecosystems.”
Born in Mississauga and brought up in British Columbia, Treadwell spent much of her time outside. Her parents have backgrounds in the natural resource science and they promoted a strong connection with the natural world.
“I feel that my appreciation for nature and the outdoors is what made me decide to follow environmental science as a career path. As something that is so special to me, I have a vested interest in keeping it in good shape. But beyond my own love for the outdoors, I think that the natural world is important to all of us and to the health of our society as a whole.”
Twenty-six years old Treadwell was awarded the scholarship not only for her deep appreciation of nature and environment, resilient attitude and academic results but mostly for her innovative thesis.
Treadwell’s research project Driving factors for organic waste and phosphorus recycling: a quantitative analysis and scenario based model aims to “…explore how we can do a better job of recycling phosphorus, so that we can minimize the environmental burdens of mining and depleting a non-renewable resource, while also addressing aquatic pollution associated with phosphorus.”
As work and study experience have shown her, there is no one easy solution to sustainability. “What I’m studying is just one small piece of a much bigger puzzle. I believe that it will take both changes at the individual, as well as higher governmental levels, to build change and infrastructure that will facilitate a more environmentally friendly way of living,” adds Treadwell who will graduate from McGill University in April.
2016 was as Treadwell puts it “a pretty big” year for her. Apart from learning new things, completing her thesis, partnering with Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) and winning the IRS Master’s Scholarship for Sustainability, Treadwell also got to learn from other bright minds.
“I met and worked with amazing and inspiring scientists studying everything from ecosystems in the arctic to how we can capture and use heat from compost.”
In her eyes the future is bright. “There are sustainable initiatives around the world that work and a lot of good studies, we need to know about them and learn from them.”
Even though Treadwell has not decided on her future steps it is clear that she is passionate about being useful and make a difference. Science communication is one of the areas that attract her attention.
“The communication channels between academia and the rest of world could be improved to make better use of scientific information. I would be really interested in working as a liaison between scientists, policy makers, and the general public.”
“I really appreciated Ice river Springs ingenuity and zero waste ambitions.” She states, “Also, it was really great to see that a company can operate more sustainably while making a profit. I think this sets an excellent example for others who often think it has to be one or the other.”
Ice River Springs is proud to support Treadwell on her journey. There is a need for people like her, with fresh perspectives, skills, knowledge and a desire to shift the public opinion.Share this news: