The principle that we can’t and shouldn’t take resources for granted is often at the heart of environmental sustainability efforts. It’s also a perspective that the new BCIT Sustainability Manager, David Pereira, has held for a long time, well before there was a name for it.
With parents who grew up in Portugal in the 1940s, David was raised in a family who remembered when electric light was first introduced to their home town and was a luxury they didn’t take for granted. He attributes some of his early sustainability ethic to this memory. “They [my parents] always valued energy as a precious resource,” says David. “It wasn’t called sustainability,” he says, “it was about a more humble existence.”
This ethic has stayed with him throughout his life. As a volunteer Board Member for Burnaby Community Services and Burnaby Meals on Wheels, as well as a member with the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness, David is motivated to reimagine the relationship between our environment and the society in which we live.
It was in ecology and sociology classes in university where he started to think critically about how to create positive change. This interest led to a Master’s degree in Urban Studies, where he focused on the City of Burnaby’s Town Centres Policy and the ways in which cities can respond to climate change.
Now, in his role as Sustainability Manager, David is inheriting a strong record on energy conservation, waste reduction, and ecological restoration even as he is gearing up to help BCIT grow its sustainability initiatives even further.
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Since joining BCIT seven years ago, David has taken on a variety of roles, which have helped prepare him for this position. In the School of Transportation he worked to develop the Motive Power Centre of Excellence on Annacis Island, and in the Office of the Vice President Academic he worked within Education Support, leading various projects including the Spring Clean-Ups, working extensively to support initiatives across all program areas, and assisting on the design and optimization of existing and new student learning spaces.
David sees the unique position at BCIT to model sustainable practices for the larger community, from business processes to technological innovation.
“It’s been said that the programs at BCIT cover the gamut of skills to run a small country,” he explains, highlighting the richness of the educational diversity, while describing the BCIT Burnaby Campus as a mini city with commercial, residential, food services, and connections to industry and the wider region.
Though new to his role, David will work closely with Director Jennie Moore and the BCIT community to continue to build strong partnerships with staff, faculty and students to advance BCIT’s sustainability goals, “I envision our office as a catalyst and enabler of the abundant energy that already exists here.”
Learn more about sustainability initiatives at BCIT.
This story is part of the monthly Countdown to Ecocity 2019 series, which highlights BCIT’s leadership in the face of today’s complex environment challenges. This initiative supports the Ecocity Standard for Healthy Culture, which aims to foster cultural activities that strengthen eco-literacy, and facilitate patterns of human knowledge and creative expression.
Learn more about BCIT’s role as host of the Ecocity World Summit in 2019.