By Karen Kelly
As a child who grew up on different continents, Alexander Zelenski was always interested in a broader view of how the world works. He found that big-picture mindset in the Department of Economics.
“You really get an understanding of the world as one big engine with artificial and natural systems,” says Zelenski, who pursued the concentration in Natural Resource and Environmental Economics. “That was appealing for me because I’m very analytical and I love mind mapping and seeing the big picture stuff.”
Zelenski decided to apply those skills to the issue of climate change. He lived in Australia as a child and was motivated by the threat to the Great Barrier Reef. He became a leading member of Climate Action Carleton, a group that called on Carleton University to divest from the fossil fuel industry. In March 2022, the university changed its investment policies.
“It was a real validation for me that momentum works and if you have real arguments and alternatives, you can really go places,” says Zelenski, who drew on the policies at other universities. “University is perhaps the biggest opportunity to create real change at the ground level, and more students need to be taking advantage of this.”
With that in mind, Zelenski is working with Carleton’s Innovation Hub as a Changemaker Program co-ordinator to support student entrepreneurs with an interest in sustainability. He will also be starting a master’s degree in Sustainable Energy and Policy at Carleton this fall.
Story taken from the Convocation 2022 issue of FPA Voices.