I AM PSE: Building a Sustainable Future

I AM PSE: Building a Sustainable Future

By: Milo Lam

Featuring: Meekael Hailu

Meekael Hailu is a junior at Miami University. He is majoring in Social Justice Studies, with a co-major in Sustainability and a minor in Geography. In his free time around campus, he helps develop the non-profit he co-founded, Project Global Story, which he started with his roommate and a friend. In addition to PGS, Meekael is an Associate Justice on Miami's Community Standards Board and was a competitor and team captain on Miami’s Mock Trial team up until the end of this past semester. Off-campus, Meekael is a research intern for the Peace and Justice Studies Association, as well as an intern at the Katz Teller law firm in downtown Cincinnati.

Hey Meekael, tell us a little about sustainability? Why is it important, to businesses, to the world?

Sustainability is an objectively difficult principle to define due to its interdisciplinary nature as well as the fact that it is an almost brand new field of study. Sustainability is commonly defined as ‘meeting the needs of the present without sacrificing the needs of future generations’. Sustainability has roots in Ecological Preservation, but one of the unique characteristics of sustainability is its ability to incorporate different industries and processes, especially corporate business. Many large corporations are at the root cause of much of the world’s environmental issues, and in recent times many corporations are trying to both continue serving as a profitable company while also acting sustainably through the three pillars of corporate sustainability: the economy, the environment, and society.

Sustainability is important on a global level since, in almost every circumstance, the areas of the world who have the largest ecological footprints are the ones that face the least amount of environmental issues. The United States is the leading culprit of this phenomena, and if we as a country would like to help other regions and the collective globe from the damaging effects of climate change, our own sustainable lifestyle choices will result in a much larger positive impact compared to others around the world.

What brought you to the topic (What was the inspiration behind the passion)?

My inspiration behind studying Sustainability was due to my passion for the outdoors and the natural world, compounded by my fear of the increasing risks of climate change

and the deterioration of the natural world. Studying something as interdisciplinary as sustainability by nature incorporates many different fields of study. For example, I can study the effects of inner-city pollution with a sociological lens but also recognize the core ecological systems that present. Essentially, sustainability is unique in part because it allows a holistic analysis of multiple disciplines that could be contributing to an issue.

What do you want people to know about they can live sustainably?

What I want people to know about sustainable development is it can come from anywhere and anyone. It's not at all necessary to have formal training or knowledge on ecological preservation to take the step towards living a more sustainable life! The first step is to gain a solid understanding of your footprint. There are many different footprint calculators available, I’ll link the one I have used the most here. From there you can venture into researching how you can manage a sustainable diet, consciously monitor and reduce your personal energy consumption, as well as find more creative ways to reuse items and supplies that you would have otherwise found no use in reusing. These are just a handful of the many avenues you can take to effectively “do you part” through living a sustainable life.

What role does PSE play in your journey?

PSE is an organization filled with some of the brightest students on Miami’s campus. The creative-minded and forward-thinking individuals within this group have already helped me contextualize my studies into real-world business concepts, and I am so grateful for it. The number of seminars and workshops that PSE provides that embrace discussion and collaboration with individuals with various studies and backgrounds to me is one of the most defining characteristics of this organization, and why I am honored to be apart of it.

Want to learn more about Meekael? Connect with him down below!

PSE Miami