In 2018, at the end of Mireta’s first year at SFU, she co-founded Ban the Bottle SFU—an influential student club with the goal of eliminating single-use plastics on campus. By January of 2021, this goal was achieved. The efforts of Mireta and Ban the Bottle, in partnership with staff and other student groups, have prevented the disposal of at least 260,000 single-use water bottles each year by replacing single-use bottles with 168 water bottle refill stations and phasing out the sale of plastic bottles across campuses.
“The positive effects of this work will ripple out far beyond SFU through the behaviour change that it promotes and the student leadership that it inspires,” says Mireta.
Through Ban the Bottle, Mireta built connections that led to an appointment on SFU’s Circular Economy Working Group and an invitation to join the Steering Committee of SFU’s Pacific Water Research Center. Over the course of her degree, Mireta also completed co-op work terms with local and federal agencies involved in stewardship and sustainability and worked as a Research Assistant for the Embedding Project, run out of SFU’s Beedie School of Business.
But these experiences are not necessarily what stand out most for Mireta. Mireta recounts one of her favourite experiences as being part of the Semester in Dialogue Climate Futures program. She spent every day of the semester with 17 other students examining the climate crisis and identifying pathways for action, gaining knowledge and skills that culminated in hosting a public dialogue on climate action beyond the individual.
“The best part was spending four months collaborating with a group of students who are as passionate about climate justice as I am,” says Mireta.
As this chapter ends, she is scaling up her impact by taking on a new role as a Policy Analyst on the Circular Economy Team with Environment and Climate Change Canada. She has also joined the board of directors for the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation.
Mireta’s parting words of wisdom for her fellow Faculty of Environment graduands?
“We have all graduated from the Faculty of Environment, so we have all learned about the world’s most pressing socio-ecological problems. We know how bad things are, and how much worse they could get. But we can’t forget that we have also learned about the solutions. So, pick a solution that speaks to you, no matter what scale, and run with it. And together, our impact will be exponential.”
Mireta will be graduating as the Dean’s Convocation Medalist with a Bachelor of Environment, majoring in Resource and Environmental Management and minoring in Dialogue in Communications.
This story was originally published on the Faculty of Environment website on June 2, 2022.