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Up Close with Hayden


Starting this week on Mondays, we will be introducing one team member and asking them some questions to challenge the way we think about our environment and marine ecosystems! We hope this mini series and the answers we provide give everyone insight on who we are as Toronto-based youth and as unique individuals, each with our own ideas, values, experiences and perspectives.

Without further ado, let’s introduce our first team member. Hayden Bao!

Hayden is a graduate student participating in the Master of Environmental Science Program at UTSC. He moved to Toronto in September 2018 and during his undergraduate career where he majored in environmental engineering, he had two-years of working experience at his university student union, serving in the Department of Arts. Hayden has been responsible for several university ceremonies, which he considers to be valuable experience in the event organization and management fields. In terms of his academics, he has juggled several different courses in the fields of physics, basic, organic and analytical chemistry. As Hayden has devoted the past five years to environmental studies and research, he strives to change the landscape of various environmental issues and raise public awareness of environmental protection.

1. Describe an obstacle you’ve encountered while exercising environmental consciousness in your daily life. Do you think it's worth the effort to overcome it?

This reminds me of the time I just moved here for my master’s program; I always felt confused about trash bins in Toronto. Honestly speaking from my experience from China, we don’t really need to care about the categories of our trash when throwing them out to a trash bin, which often appears to be a huge bucket on the side of the road. Typically, all we need to do, is to dump all the trash in the bucket without being aware of how many hours garbage collectors have to spend collecting and recycling them.

In Toronto, things are totally different. Usually there are three categories of trash labelled in the trash bin: litter, recycling plastic (materials like plastic bottles) and recycling paper (materials like discarded newspaper). Although it took me quite a few days recognizing these types of trash, I definitely see this as an effective and creative method to stimulate the public’s consciousness towards environmental concerns. Besides, it takes less time to recycle, and provides more benefits to our environment at large.

2. What is one place in Toronto you would like everyone to know about?

To be honest, I haven’t had the chance to explore many of the gorgeous places in Toronto. But I do recommend people coming here for the first time to spend several hours boating in the Toronto Harbour on a nice day. The spectacular view of Downtown Toronto, including the most famous spot: the CN Tower, is right in front you. Besides, you can also intimately feel the actual water in Lake Ontario; getting the opportunity to know how the lake impacts our daily lives in Toronto and understanding the harmonious connection between this city and nature.

3. Describe a recycling tip people may not know about.

For discarded batteries, because they contain heavy metals like manganese and zinc, we are mostly not supposed to throw them out with our general trash, but instead put them in a box or another closed container, and carefully label them in case garbage collectors become aware that the batteries in it need further handling and treatment.

Hayden snorkeling off the coast of Hualien, Taiwan, with his friends and the colorful and lovely fish around them!


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