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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Faces of Sustainability: Melissa Mirowski

Posted by Melissa Mirowski on June 06, 2016

Who are you and what do you do on campus?

My name is Melissa Mirowski and I am the Asset and Sustainability Planner at UOIT.

How did you get started in environmental work, and how long have you been interested in it? 

I started in environmental work very early in life. Growing up in a family-owned commercial fishery I was well aware of the impacts humans have on the natural world and the importance of managing our needs responsibly. In college and university, my studies were focused on Environmental Management and Science and I spent my summers working as a Fisheries Biologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources. Since then I’ve worked in renewable energy development and sustainability in private, non-profit, and public sectors.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability to me means living our lives holistically. It means understanding the significance of factors that contribute to a fulfilling existence in these modern times (environmental, economic, and social health) and considering them equally in our day-to-day actions and decision making.

When did you first become interested in sustainability?

I can’t recall an exact moment; I think it has been a growing passion stemming from education and experiences that have helped me understand the importance of connections and how systems rely on each other.

What’s your favourite environmental hobby or activity away from work? 

I love to camp, swim, ride my bike and garden.

Who are your eco-heroes?

One of them is Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist — and African woman — to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The award was granted in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in President Mwai Kibaki's government between January 2003 and November 2005. She was an Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council.

What would you recommend to someone on campus who is interested in sustainability? 

Contact the Sustainability office with any questions, ideas, etc. We are here to offer support and are happy to pave the path of involvement for eager students.

We could also provide you with information on the various sustainability-focused and related courses  the university offers.

Reach out!


Filed under: Faces of sustainability