I first learned about the World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF) Living Planet Leader certification at a sustainability webinar at Humber. I was immediately intrigued by the opportunity to participate in a program that would allow me to showcase my passion for sustaining our environment in professional settings such as LinkedIn. I registered an account with WWF and scanned over the various tasks I would have to complete to obtain the certification. I remember being intimidated by the disclaimer that the activities would need to be completed within three months of finishing my studies—little did I know, I had already completed the hardest tasks on the list!
There are four broad categories to be completed before receiving the certification. Below, I list the categories and a short description of how I was able to obtain the certification overnight!
Leadership and teamwork
To complete the requirements of this category, one must submit at least one example of practicing leadership and teamwork.
In early 2020, I began volunteering with One Piece A Day, a non-profit organization with an app to inspire people to pick up litter and refuse single-use plastic. I had actually first met the founder of the organization, Dmytriy Pereklita, at a campus event hosted by the Office of Sustainability in December of 2019. The organization’s goal to end plastic pollution through a mobile app aligned with my studies in digital business management and my personal interests in all things eco-friendly. In July of 2020, I had worked alongside the One Piece A Day team and took the lead in planning, designing and executing a plastic-free July marketing campaign for their Instagram page.
To me, being a Living Planet Leader is simply an outwards representation of my inner passion for sustaining our planet.Tabassum Hawlader
Personal application of sustainability
To complete the requirements of this category, students must choose 40 sustainable actions from a checklist provided on the website and write a short reflection on their experience completing each of them.
Though the most tedious of all the categories, this section was probably my favourite because it allowed me to share the many different ways I’ve reduced my ecological footprint. The best part? Many of the actions on the list are wallet-friendly as well! One of the actions on the checklist was to bring your own mug when going out. For the reflection, I shared how in addition to the mug, I make sure to always carry a pencil case filled with tea bags in my purse/backpack (plastic-free, of course). This is so that I can make my own tea or coffee by just asking for my reusable mug to be filled with boiling water for free at a coffee shop.
Application of sustainability in academics
To complete the requirements of this category, I incorporated sustainability into an elective course I had taken in my first year: ethics and moral theory.
In this course, I had written a paper on whether it is ethical to design products using the product obsolescence policy. This paper largely focused on the environmental impacts of intentionally designing products with an artificially limited useful life. This was a paper I had written long before I had even heard of the Living Planet Leader program! Completing this category was as easy as uploading the paper and providing the contact details of my professor.
Campus, community or global volunteerism
To complete this category, students must volunteer 40 hours of their time towards an environmental, conservation or sustainability initiative.
Over the course of 2020, I continued to volunteer with One Piece A Day, putting in over 100+ hours planning and executing various marketing initiatives. The best part of this experience was the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals towards a great cause.
One year later, I am currently working as a paid part-time social media specialist at One Piece A Day, where I work to advertise app features, create educational content, and manage an online storefront. If I had one piece of advice to give to other students looking to obtain the Living Planet Leader certification, it would be to just jump right into it. Whether you’re an environment enthusiast like me or you would like to expand your professional knowledge and experience to include environmental specialization, I would highly recommend looking into this program.